PacWest prevailes against Renton
By Ed Shepherd
Pac West's 10-11 All Stars opened their District 7 Little League Tournament play with a 9-3 victory over Renton at Pac West Fields Saturday.
Pac West Manager Mitch Stone highlighted his pitchers who threw in this game. Five of them. River Garza, Michael Snyder, Hunter Hillyard, Max Volle and Jacob Sagmoen.
"River started it, under 20 pitches, then, Michael, under 20 pitches, and Hunter, under 20 pitches, Max, under 20 pitches, and Jacob under 20 pitches."
"Under 20 pitches" are important words in Little League baseball for 10-11 year olds.
If a pitcher throws under 20 pitches per game, they can still pitch in the next game. That means that Pac West will have a lot of fresh arms for it's next game in All Stars for this 10 and 11 year old age group of boys, which, not so coincidentally, was the very next day. Good strategy, indeed, when strong pitching counts in this tournament to go far.
Stone's team was down early against Renton, but it wasn't something to worry about.
"No," he said. "It was too close longer than I liked."
The score was close, even after Pac West came back from down early. Close, in fact, all the way to the fifth inning.
But, mentioning the start, the start of the game got off on shaky footing for Pac West. Renton scored a run in the bottom of the first inning on only one hit but with three walks mixed in, too.
But, it was Pac West's players' turn in the top of the second to wipe any worries off of their fans' faces of that early 1-0 deficit. And that they did.
Ryder Leahy led off with a single and Garza hit Leahy in for an RBI and a 1-1 tie. Then, Sagmoen reached base on a fielding error in the infield by third base. Next Brandon Corner reached base on another fielding error and Garza scored to make it 2-1, Pac West.
Zeke Pastana hit an RBI double, next, and, it was a 3-1 Pac West lead.
That's how things stayed as neither team scored again for three whole innings, explaining how Stone said things were closer than he wanted for too long. But then, in the top of the fifth inning, things changed.
Pac West made the score closer to Stone's liking with a Garza single followed by a Sagmoen RBI single that made it 4-1. Then, the big hit of the inning came next when Hillyard got all over a pitch, lacing it into the left-center field gap to the fence vicinity for a 3-RBI triple, making it 7-1.
"We're just trying to win as much as we can and get as far as we can," said Hillyard. "I'd say we all did really good."
Pac West added two more runs in the top of the sixth inning to make it 9-3 before Renton scored a couple runs in their at-bats in the bottom of the fifth inning that proved little more than making the score a little closer in the end.
"River, Hunter -- both hit the ball hard, Zeke right field made an excellent catch," said Stone.
Of the start that saw Renton take the lead on three walks and only one hit, leaving a couple runners on base after the first inning, Stone just shook it off as normal stuff.
"First game jitters out of the way, trying too hard," he said.