West Seattle outscores Pac West
By Ed Shepherd
West Seattle didn't hammer out the most hits in the game, but runs are what count, and they scored more of those than its foe, beating Pac West, 11-7, in the Little League All Stars District 7 10-11s Tournament Sunday.
"We didn't play well," said Pac West manager Mitch Stone.
Following a nice 9-3 win over Renton to open the tourney, Pac West just never quite righted itself to start the game against West Seattle and played catch-up throughout against a very good hitting team, too.
West Seattle hit the ball 11 times in the game, and, Pac West did outdo them in that department, hitting 12 themselves. But, the biggest hits of the game came in the first inning by West Seattle. The biggest plays of the game, too, which weren't necessarily all Pac West's fault. But the plays happened, of error and bad luck both, and the pendulum of momentum was swinging West Seattle's way.
Starting in the top of the first inning, a West Seattle leadoff walk hurt things when Dylan Mastroianni reached second on a single, then, stole third and came home when the ball got past home plate to make it 1-0.
Then Mastroianni stole third base and on the play the catcher's throw to third base hit the bag and bounced over the third baseman into the outfield.
So, the throw could have been more into third's glove but, also, the bad hop compounded the situation as Mastroianni scored to make it 2-0.
Then, still in the West Seattle first, a single to the next batter, followed by a walk to the next was then followed with a hard hit to second base for the next batter. And this is where Stone's comment to be makes sense as the ball was playable but got under second's mitt and another run scored to give West Seattle a 3-0 early lead.
Then, another walk loaded the bases for the next batter, Gabe Palmer, who unloaded the bases with a 3-RBI triple to make it 6-0.
Pac West showed resolve after that West Seattle first inning damage to make a game of this with Ryder Leahy leading off the bottom of the first with a double down the third base line. Then Jacob Sagmoen blooped the ball into shallow center field. Michael Snyder then smashed a line-drive by the West Seattle second baseman to right-center field and that was good for a 2-RBI single, cutting the lead to 6-2 for the foe.
Then Hunter Hillyard continued the rally with a RBI single, scoring Snyder and it was 6-3 now. And, then, Hillyard stole second base and went to third on a shortstop to third base put out sacrifice by Max Volle. But, Hillyard was stranded at third base as the next batter struck out.
Good hitting team, coach. That's playing well, isn't it?
"Oh yeah," said Stone. "We hit the ball well. Just errors."
But, those kind of things have already been mentioned and so we continue on with the comeback from a deep hole that Pac West was trying to climb out.
So, in the bottom of the second, Zeek Pastana doubled to right-center and Sagmoen's RBI single made it a 6-4 West Seattle lead.
Pac West relief pitcher Alex Whitman came on after most of the damage was done in the first and continued good throwing in the top of the third, retiring the West Seattle side in order aside from one walk. The Pac West bats had another chance to further dig themselves out of their huge early deficit.
And they did, getting another run when River Garza and then Hillyard, singled and Volle brought a run in with a nice poke to center field to make it 6-5. And that hitting and scoring came with still no outs for Pac West. But the next three batters did two ground-outs and a strikeout, respectively, to leave three runners on base.
And, in this game that would turn out to be costly, not getting any runners in at this point for Pac West in a game where the other team scored runs a lot.
In the top of the fourth, West Seattle scored more runs, getting a leadoff triple followed by a sacrifice that meant RBI and upped its lead to 7-5.
Then more runs came home for West Seattle in the top of five as three hits and a couple walks mixed in helped that happen. They added two more and led Pac West, 9-5.
Not done yet, Pac West's hitters hammered the ball, with Hillyard singling to start and the team's lone girl, Emma Peterson, showing girls can play baseball as she smashed a high ball that bounced in front of and over the West Seattle center field player and Hillyard scored making it 9-6.
"All we ask is that you put the ball in play and that's what Emma did," said Stone.
Next up, Pastana hit the ball hard to the center field gap and it made for a 9-7 West Seattle lead.
It makes sense then to hear these words coming from West Seattle manager Steve Joseph of this game's quality.
"They played tough," said Joseph. "It was never comfortable. That's a good team."
West Seattle answered that scoring with two runs of its own in the top of the sixth inning on a couple hits and a couple errors, too, from the infield and outfield contributing.
Most frustrating is that the errors were uncharacteristic of this Pac West team all through the time leading up to All Stars and that's been a long time.
"The simple things we worked on for 2-3 weeks and 3-4 months during the season," said Stone. "If not for errors..."
Could have been a different game?
"Oh yeah, those really put us in a hole," said Stone. "After that, we were playing catch-up."