National edges West Seattle
By Ed Shepherd
Everything went just the way things should. Pitchers pitched well, hitters hit well, even a home run as well, and South Highline National beat West Seattle, 6-5, in Little League All Stars Intermediate action at the Pac West Fields Saturday.
Intermediate age kids are 11 to 13 in between the 10-11 All Stars and the Juniors All Stars aged kids who are 13 and 14 years old.
And now moving on will be South Highline National to Monday's 6 p.m. championship game, playing West Seattle again.
West Seattle must beat South Highline National twice to upend them from being the Intermediate state qualifying team from District 7.
In this game, South Highline National expected a good battle from West Seattle.
"We win by one or they win by one," said Pat Adams, National's manager.
Except for the regular season game, one where your son, Payton, said you were 10-runned by West Seattle?
"Yeah, exactly," said Adams. "They handed it to us."
But this game for National against West Seattle goes to show that National improved from that first 10-run defeat that ended the game earlier than the normal seven innnings Intermediate games go.
In this game, National trailed 1-0 after the first inning but went ahead right after that and never trailed again.
In the bottom of the first, trailing, 1-0, National put the bats right to work. Leading off the first, Ethan Chabot singled, stole second and third base. Then Peter Shelley singled, driving in Chabot for the tie. Then, Payton Adams hit a two-run home run over the left field fence for a 3-1 National lead.
Was Adams worried about being down a run early on?
"We just played our hardest," said Adams. "I was a little nervous, but I knew we would pull it off."
Then, after Adams pitched strongly and struck out the West Seattle side, it was time to add to that lead as Joey Rivero doubled to left field and stole third base before a balk by the pitcher, not pausing in his delivery, sent Rivero home to make it 4-1.
National added another run as Chabot drew a walk and Caleb Dierda's RBI double made it a 5-1 ballgame.
Then West Seattle scored some runs on a new National pitcher, three to be exact, on three hits, but, still West Seattle trailed National, 5-4.
Scoring stayed like that until the bottom of the sixth for National as a walk to Adams and a walk to Judah Meyering put runners at first and second base.
Adams came around to score on a West Seattle fielding error by the pitcher throwing to first base to try and pick off Meyering, and it was 6-4.
Then Chabot came in to pitch, the fifth pitcher used by National manager Adams, who said that was perfect to be able to use a lot of pitchers so they have under 35 pitches and all available to pitch in the championship game and, if necessary, the game they would play on Tuesday if they happen to lose Monday.
"I just went through our pitching rotation and kept pitchers down so they can be used in the next game," said Adams.
Chabot was the last pitcher used of the five that included Adams, Kelvin Wallace, Peter Shelley, Caleb Dierda, and he was facing West Seattle hitters wanting to comeback and win this game in the top of the seventh inning.
Down two runs, 6-4, West Seattle did come back a little, with a run in their half of the seventh, with three walks that loaded the bases. A fielder's choice then allowed a run to score and it was 6-5, and getting a little too close for comfort. But, Chabot induced the final batter into an infield ground out and the game was over.
Nervous a little at the end there, Chabot?
"It was stressing," said Chabot. "I just kept throwing hard."
Adams is happy with all of his players' play, pitching, hitting and fielding.
"I'm proud of all of our boys," he said. "We played as a team."