West Seattle finishes fourth in state tourney; Loss to Pacific closes out season
By Gerardo Bolong
West Seattle's wonderful adventures at the well-run 2014 Washington State Little League Majors ages 11-12 All-Star baseball tournament at the Bar-S Fields finally ended after a long run through the loser-out bracket in a 14-4 loss to Pacific on Thurs., July 16.
"This just wasn't our night," manager Jason Woodward told his players. "We had some good bounces to get here and fourth place is special. We played 21 games and were together for one month and four days. Some of the players from the other areas play a lot more tournaments before getting to this. I hope you enjoyed this. This is an amazing group with amazing families."
After further reminders such as competing at a higher level of play, Woodward told the press about his strategy for getting such a long run through the loser-out bracket.
"We have so many interchangeable parts," Woodward explained. "All except four players pitched. We needed to play good defense to keep the pitch counts down."
District 1 Pacific jumped into the lead immediately with a trio of first inning runs with two of the runs reaching home on an infield error.
Continuing to show its bounce back ability, District 7 West Seattle returned fire in the bottom of the frame. Kenji Suzuki timed a pitch to send the ball over the center field fence with one out. Henry Muench followed with a chopping single ahead of Jarek Woodward's line shot single. A passed ball put the runners on the next bases for Max Debiec's run-scoring ground ball.
Trailing only 3-2, District 7 was unable to get any closer for the duration of the game.
The Edmonds area District 1 representative continued its hard hitting to score a second inning run on three hits, making the score 4-2.
In the fourth inning, Ben Grant's two-run homer touched off a five-run Pacific scoring salvo that made the score 9-2.
West Seattle got one run back in the bottom of the fourth, but Pacific came back in waves to notch five runs in the fifth with Grant once again being the catalyst with a two RBI single as part of his 3-fo-3 batting day.
On the brink of elimination from the 13-team tournament, West Seattle kept playing through to avoid being ousted by the 10-run mercy rule. A walked forced one run home with two outs before Pacific closed out the game.
Memories of playing the state tournament in their seemingly own backyard on fields that were prepared by many hands such as Rick Southall and Mark O'Neil in the preceding years were uttermost in the minds of the West Seattle All-Stars.
"I really came to appreciate the hard work of the parents and all the people who prepared the field," said Jack Summers. "It was a great opportunity to play here."
Community came to mind for Walker Nelson.
"Having our community come was my best memory," he said. "I'll remember all our nights being together with best friends and family."
The Westsiders were well supported and encouraged for every game was a fact also appreciated by Isaac Patchen.
"I learned from my coaches," he recalled. "All the screaming for our games was great."
2014 Washington State Little League Majors state fourth place District 7 West Seattle All-Star players are Max Debiec, Konrad Gerhardt, Ulee Hammer, Will Holmes (injured), Paul Johnson, Henry Muench, Justin Murphy, Walker Nelson, Isaac Patchen, Connor Savage, Jackson Sullivan, Jack Summers, Kenji Suzuki and Jarek Woodward.
Assistant coaches for manager Jason Woodward are Stan Debiec and Jon Muench.
Will Stedman is District 7 administrator while assistant district administrator Shawna Williams is the director of the state tournament hosted by District 7.