National players shaking hands with West Seattle players and coaches after the 14-1 loss to West Seattle. Payton Adams and Caleb Dierda in the forefront.
National drops finale to West Seattle
By Ed Shepherd
Great expectations sometimes don't turn out great, as South Highline National found out.
After being involved in two previous nail-biter games against West Seattle in the Little League All Stars Intermediate Tournament Saturday and Monday, SHN just didn't have a great game in this one that decided it all as they lost, 14-1, in the if-necessary championship game that crowned West Seattle champs at Pac West Fields Tuesday.
This game was necessary because the top team entering the championship, National, lost, 12-11, in the first championship game, in a bottom of the seventh rally way to West Seattle on Monday. That was after having previously beaten West Seattle, 5-4, to knock them into the loser's bracket Saturday.
So, close games there, those two, and also during the season mostly, not counting one 10-run win for West Seattle, as the other two games were a win by one run by West Seattle and a win by a couple runs by National.
But this game that started decent for National did not end that way. And for that gets this from the West Seattle manager:
"Unexpected," said the West side's manager, Dave Douglas. "For me, playing these guys, we've always battled them close every game."
Pat Adams, the National manager, did not expect this kind of ending either, but he took it in stride and gave a summation that told everyone that West Seattle was just better on this day and deserved to go to the Intermediate state tournament that starts July 5 in Snohomish.
"West Seattle came out ready to play," said Adams, whose team wasn't spinning its tires early, offensively, as National scored the first run of the game in the top of the second inning on a Michael Ung leadoff double and steal of third base. Then Douglas Hobbs reached base on a fielding error that scored Ung for a 1-0 National lead.
"I thought I had my team prepped, but West Seattle came out and flat-out beat us," said Adams.
West Seattle came out for its at-bats in the bottom of the second inning and flattened National with seven runs on four hits.
National found itself trailing then, 7-1, but, still National showed a liittle drive, with Caleb Dierda getting a single in the National top half of the third inning. But, unfortunately, the two batters before Dierda struck out and flew out to center field, respectively, and, the batter after Dierda struck out to end any chance of a threat by National in the third inning.
West Seattle put spikes in the coffin of this game in it's bottom of the third inning, getting seven more runs on six hits to lead, 14-1, after the bottom of the third.
"We just fell again," said Dierda, who pitched and caught well for National in this tournament, including having started National off well in the 5-4 win, getting the first RBI single of the game for his team in that one last Saturday.
"But, you know, it was a great season," said Dierda, reflecting. "I like the way we played. It was a fun team. We all strived to do our best. I think we accomplished what we wanted to do."
Looking back one last time at this game, National did make some fielding errors in the bottom of the second inning as the first two runners that reached base for West Seattle came by way of miscues, not including the first batter, who was hit by a pitch to load the bases. And those kind of things can and will take a good team down, momentum-wise. And, also, definitely, a pitcher will have a hard time playing through a start like that by his defense who is supposed to back him with outs.
But, also, give West Seattle credit, they came ready to play. So, all things equal, West Seattle deserves to be going to state as the representative for District 7s Intermediate division, although National played well enough, too, in this tournament that they could easily have been the representative.
"They are a good team, and we are a good team," said Adams. "Unfortunately, they came out on top. We had a great season."