Photos by Gerardo Bolong
Gary Clark of South Highline National strokes a this inning run-scoring double.

Pac West moves on

By Gerardo Bolong

Late innings hitting powered the Pac West Little League Majors All-Stars to a 6-1 loser-out win against South Highline National Monday in the District 7 baseball tournament.

"We had good hitting," observed Pac West manager Paul Kemp. "Our kids were really swinging the bat tonight. Our center fielder Blaine Patten was covering ground and ranging all over. We practiced on turf, yesterday, and the team felt good. Our battery was great. John (Kemp) called a great game and Kayla (Siler) pitched a great game."

After opening the tournament with a tough 1-0 loss to West Seattle, the rejuvenated Pac West All-Stars will play the winner of the Renton-Seattle Central game in another loser-out match up on Thurs., July 3.

South Highline was initially knocked into the loser-out round by way of a 7-3 loss to Rainier.

Locked in a 1-1 stand off after four complete innings, the Pac West All-Stars began their winning rally in the top of the fifth inning. Timmy Brodigan drove a high and deep fly ball that fell between fielders in center field for a triple. John Kemp then powered a long drive that wedged at the bottom of the left field barrier for a ground rule double that scored the go ahead run. From this action, the hits just kept playing on. An intentional walk to Jeremiah Judd and an infield pop fly out preceded Lucky Ruona's two-run double. PW added one more run to grab a commanding 5-1 advantage and Kemp came through with an RBI single in the sixth for the final run of the game.

"It was really good, because my hit got everyone ready to crush the ball," Kemp said. "I've played against them (National) for four years and they're always tough."

Pac West began the game with Mac Greenan being hit by a pitch on a 1-2 count. Brodigan singled to make the situation runners on first and third. Following a strike out, Jeremiah Judd blasted a ground rule double that gave Pac West a 1-0 lead.

South Highline National nearly scored in the bottom of the frame when Matt Dacosta singled with one out and was pushed forward to third base on an Angus Adams ground rule double to right field. The springy, artificial turf at the Valley Ridge Fields accounted for many high bounces. Two outs later the runners were stranded at their bases.

In the bottom of the third inning, National struck back. Dacosta punched a double down the left-field line and advanced to third base on an infield ground out. Two outs later, Gary Clark pulled a double to right center field, scoring Dacosta. Blaine Patten fielded the hit and alertly threw to shortstop Judd, who tagged out Clark attempting to reach third base and the rally was over.

South Highline threatened two more times.

In the fourth inning, Zane Thornton drew a one out walk. Ben Turnbull attempted a sacrifice bunt that turned into an infield single. One strike out later, Lucas Smith singled to left field only to have outfielder Mac Greenan throw a strike to catcher Kemp to nail the runner trying to score.

Fifth inning defense by Pac West cut off another National attempt to get runners to advance. South Highline National batter Dacosta led off with a ground rule double. On an unassisted ground out to first baseman Trenton Brown, Dacosta attempted to advance, but Brown threw to third baseman Misa Marin for the tag out. After the next batter struck out, the Nationals were unable to muster up a sixth inning charge.

Right hander Kayla Siler pitched the first four innings before relief pitcher Judd came on in relief for two scoreless innings.

"The team gives me confidence," said Siler. "I don't think much about the runners. I just concentrate on John and his signs."

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