Pirates beat Dodgers 12-0 in fifth inning in Tournament of Champions
by Kaelyn Sayles
The Pac-West Pirates beat the South Highline National Dodgers 12-0 in the fifth inning Sunday.
The two teams were playing for the title of the 2012 District 7 Juniors Tournament of Champions
To make it to the championship, South Highline National (SHN) beat West Seattle 10-3. Pac-West knocked out Renton.
Despite the loss to the Pirates, Dodgers head coach Jeff Gibbs remained positive, acknowledging their talented opponent and the mistakes made by his team.
Before the game, Gibbs gave the team a pep talk that included referencing the 1980 Olympics hockey game between the U.S. and Russia, known to many as the “Miracle on Ice.”
“It was the same kind of position for us, David versus Goliath, and nine out of 10 times they’re going to beat us, but maybe that one time we’re going to beat them,” Gibbs said. “Unfortunately, during the game we just made errors and it cost us the game.”
In this case, Goliath was the undefeated Pirates, who scored five runs in the second inning, giving the team momentum that the Dodgers struggled to shut down.
Pac-West was successful in stealing bases, and the mental side of the game was made apparent as SHN pitchers got distracted by players leading off and balls weren’t caught at bases. After going through two pitchers, SHN stuck with their third pitcher of the game, Jose Esqueda, who finished out the game after coming in during the second inning.
Although discouraged, players couldn’t help but smile every once in awhile when it was their turn up at bat. The announcer for the game entertained the crowd with nicknames for the players, which made the players laugh and take a moment to compose themselves before batting.
The game ended after the fifth inning due to the 10-run courtesy rule that doesn’t let a game continue if the score is separated by that number of runs.
After the game, Gibbs shook hands with his players in the dugout, thanking them for playing this season.
“I appreciate them playing hard all season long, and from when we started to where we finished, they all improved,” Gibbs said. “They all kept positive attitudes and I think more important than anything was they played together as a team.”
The Dodgers head coach acknowledged that the team didn’t get down on each other, even in tough games like the one they just played, which is important.
“That’s the life lesson there is that it’s not about the wins or losses, it’s learning and getting better, overcoming things, and they did that all season,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs’s lesson goes along with the last part of the Little League Pledge, which was read to the teams and fans before the game: “…win or lose, I will always do my best.”
Before the teams could file off the field, the awards ceremony was held. The Dodgers received pins and the Pirates received a few different trophies; one large one presented to their coach, another big trophy to Matthew Horejsi, who was named MVP of the tournament, as well as each player getting an individual trophy.
Gibbs said that the spirit of the Dodgers is aided by the kids all genuinely liking one another. He said they all gelled together very quickly and had a lot of fun, so it was a great group of kids to coach.
He also couldn’t leave out the parents, saying that this was probably the best bunch of parents he’s had in his years of coaching.
Players left the dugout to meet up with their cheering families and friends, done with another season of junior little league.