Pac-West season comes to a close
By Ed Shepherd
After Pacific Junior High eighth grader Brianna Clark sang beautifully our National Anthem in the morning and players from Pac-West's Pirates came to the Tournament Of Champions stoked following a rousing come-from-behind win over West Seattle's Cubs, things just didn't go their way in a 12-1 loss to Rainier in Majors action at Normandy Park City Hall Park Sunday.
"Our bats have been strong all year, he was throwing blazing speed but we have hit fast pitchers all season," said Pac-West manager Scott Magee. "I think they were tired. They had All-Stars tryouts yesterday and it was an emotional big win the day before. The kids were flat."
Following the big 7-6 win over West Seattle's Cubs, there would be no fireworks ending to this one as all the fire was displayed by the Seattle area team of Rainier.
Rainier was to play Seattle Central in the TOC Majors championship game Monday and none of the local charters' regular season champions made it either.
South Highline National lost in the first round, 13-8, to Rainier, and, South Highline American, lost, 7-6, to Renton.
Furthermore, including the Minors of 9-10 year olds playing, Pac-West's team in that age group lost, 4-0, to Renton in the opening round, so Tyler Gilpatrick cheered up his team with these words.
"We made it farther than all the other Pac-West teams," he said, raising his hands high in the air and other players listening and agreeing.
In this game, the sweet music of bat hitting baseball clinked for Rainier from the start, with three runs in the first inning. The big hurt came in the second with seven runs scored by the foe for a 10-0 lead. Pac-West mustered its run in the bottom of the second that was scored off a Rainier error so there just wasn't much offense for Pac-West.
Pac-West did, almost, begin to erase that Rainier 3-0 lead after its top half of the first inning.
In the bottom of the first inning, Pac-West leadoff hitter Riess Magee did what he is supposed to do, get on base, not walking either, but hitting a chopper to third base. Riess Magee out-ran the throw to first base. The next batter up got out in a weird way as Bradley Anderson hit the ball to right field for what should have been a single, but it was hit so hard that Anderson did not have time to get to first base before the right fielder threw to first base for the out.
Michael Snyder Jr. then drew a walk for clean-up hitter Jeremiah Judd to clear the table with only one out. But he got under the ball and popped it up to shortstop. Then, the next batter stuck out to end that threat, leaving two runners on base.
Rainier scored two more runs after all its damage those first two innings in the top of the fourth and this game was over by the 10-run rule after Pac-West's at-bats in the bottom of four.
Pac-West catcher Ezequiel Pestana, who did a great job behind the plate stopping wild pitches, put this game in perspective.
"They were good at hitting and we had to have a good defense," said Pestana.
The "defense" comment alluded to the Pirates not only watching the Rainer bats sizzle but also the Pac-West defense fizzled some,too, allowing more runs than necesary to come across for Rainier. But the defense wasn't the big issue it was just a solid hitting Rainier club all game long.
Jehra Hendrickson coached alongside manager Magee, along with Pravat Sripranaaratanakul, and Hendrickson said words that could calm this team of ballplayers sad to seeing its season of success end against Rainier.
"That was a really good team we just played," said Hendrickson. "They could hit. Nothing to be ashamed of."
This game was just one game and this season was very good for the Pirates, who won their Pac-West league season and opener of TOC over a good West Seattle team.
Marin, who hit a two-run home run against West Seattle the day before, had this to say of his teammates.
"Really nice, funny," he said. "When it comes to games, we were cheering for each other."
And, of his coaches?
"Oh, my coaches," said Marin, pausing, a big smile on his face as he pondered that question. "They taught me a lot, they are the best. They helped me in batting, advice, in life. They told me to keep my head up."
Magee stressed something more than wins and losses for his team being most important and what he will remember best of this season.
"I loved the character of these kids during the season," said Magee. "Other teams said things to them and stuff. As much as they wanted to get into it, our players never did."
Magee spoke to the players all together this one last time after this Rainier game.
"You guys played great," said Magee. "You won with grace, you lost with grace. We came back this season again and again. It's not the dog in the fight. It's the fight in the dog. And, you guys got heart."
Players for Pac-West are: Alex Lucero, Bradley Anderson, Christian Herra, Ezequiel Pestana, Jeremiah Judd, Kenny Sripranaaratanakul, Michael Snyder Jr., Misa Marin, Rafael Urrea, Riess Magee and Tyler Gilpatrick.