West Seattle earns home field advantage
By Gerardo Bolong
West Seattle's Bar-S Fields will be the next destination for the West Seattle Little League Majors ages 11-12 baseball All-Stars after holding off a determined bid by Rainier 12-10 on Sat., July 5th, afternoon in the provisional championship of the 2014 Washing state District VII tournament at the Valley Ridge Fields in SeaTac.
District VII has an opening tournament engagement against District IV at 1:00 p.m. on Bar-S Field #2.
During the post game photo taking, the team could be heard chanting, "West Seattle, here we come. Bar-S, here we come."
Fourth inning fusillades formed the cushion West Seattle needed to hold off the ever charging Rainier All-Stars.
Leading only 9-7 going into the home at bat, West Seattle loaded its ammunition. Kenji Suzuki started with a double into the right center field gap before going to third base on a wild pitch. Jackson Sullivan's infield single produced a run. Two consecutive fielder's choice ground outs enabled Max Debiec to come to bat for a sliced triple to the right field corner for the RBI and an 11-7 margin.
Henry Muench singled home a fifth inning WS run, but Rainier reared up to produce final tensions in the top of the sixth inning.
Aaron Barber singled ahead of Sam Sproule's fielder's choice ground out that kept a runner on first base. An infield error placed another runner on base before a strike out made the situation two outs. Kelly Corl walked to load the bases for Max Brown who unloaded a three-run triple to narrow the Rainier deficit to 12-10. An infield ground out finally ended Rainier's courageous comeback.
"Everyone really prepared for this day," said West Seattle manager Jason Woodward. "All came together as a true team today. In the course of the tournament, all impacted the games in some way. Our goal was to keep playing until the last out, while playing a complete game. the team made some big time plays."
In the first inning, the Westsiders grabbed the lead starting with Muench's lead off walk. He later advanced to second base on an infield ground out. Catching Rainier players napping, Muench ran to third base while the ball was being returned to the pitcher, allowing him to score the first run on a wild pitch.
Rainier tied the score in the top of the second on two consecutive singles preceding an infield out and an ensuing infield error.
Back came West Seattle in the bottom of the frame.
Debiec singled before advancing to second base on an infield ground out. Then, Jack Summers pulled a pitch into the right field corner for an RBI triple.. It was a wild pitch that eventually sent him home as WS led 3-1.
"We felt the pressure," said Debiec. "We just focused the whole game.
A single third inning tally closed the gap to 3-2, but West Seattle sent 10 batters to the plate in the home half of the inning and scored six runs on five hits and one error.Suzuki's high chopping, run scoring double, Paul Johnson's RBI single and a Jack Summers RBI keyed the hitting.
Rainier retaliated with a five-run fourth inning built upon RBI singles from Dillon Cooper, Aron Barber plus Sam Sproule's two-run single to bring the score to 9-7, setting the scene for the final combative innings. that allowed West Seattle to secure a rare home field advantage at the state tournament.
"I was missing high," said starting pitcher Suzuki. "I just focused on the catcher's glove. It's just an awesome feeling."
District VII Little League Majors ages 11-12 baseball All-Star champion players for 2014 are Max Diebec, Konrad Gerhardt, Ulee Hammer, Will Holmes, Paul Johnson, Henry Muench, Justin Murphy, Walker Nelson, Isaac Patchen, Jackson Sullivan, Jack Summers, Kenji Suzuki and Jarek Woodward.
Manager Jason Woodward is assisted by coaches Jon Muench and Stan Diebec. League president is Michael Grienauer. Will Stedman is tournament director for the proceedings hosted by South Highline American Little League.