National relief pitching holds off Westsiders
By Gerardo Bolong
Lights out relief pitching by Jordan Marx preserved a South Highline National All-Star team lead in a District VII 8-10 age Little League baseball tournament opener en route to a National 6-4 win in six innings on Sat., June 23, at the Pac West fields.
"We have a young team of players," said SHN manager Kris Kelly. "It was a good experience. West Seattle is a good team and we hung with them."
Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the third inning, the Nationals rode into the lead for good.
Consecutive infield singles by Luis Sanchez and Nolan Enghusen set up Jack Fenton to deliver a 4-4 deadlock on an infield ground ball out. Jayce Fitgerald followed with an infield single sending Rylon Keene to the plate. Keene grounded the ball for what looked to be an infield out, but the first baseman was ruled to not have his foot on first base as the Nationals took a 5-4 lead.
Jordan Marx scored an additional South Highline Little League run in the fourth inning, but it was his pitching that kept the Nationals ahead.
After the Nationals grabbed the lead, Marx shifted from centerfield to the pitcher's mound in the fourth inning and faced only 10 batters while recording three shut out innings to close out the game. Marx ended the game with a flourish, using only four ptches in striking out the final batter.
"I tried to throw strikes," explained right hander Marx. "I was confident that my teammates would get the ball and throw to first to get the outs."
West Seattle scored in the first after Max Cooper led off the first inning with a walk before reaching home two outs later on a catcher's throw that went awry.
Leo Brok doubled home Bear Law for one run in the second inning for WS. After a ground out advanced him to third base, Cooper singled sharply to right field to enlarge the lead to 3-0.
South Highline was opportunistic in its scoring in the home half of the frame.
Two consecutive Westsider infield errors plus two stolen bases accounted for one run. Following a ground out to third base, Peter Lloyd walked and stole second base. When the WS catcher tried to throw him out, the ball went into the outfield allowing a run to score while sending Lloyd to third base. Marx lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to knot the score at 3-3 in advance of the deciding innings.
While this action was taking place, young Brandon Bernard was making his debut as an announcer of Little League tournament softball. Bernard showed great enthusiasm and a willingness to help out.
In other age 8-10 age results, Rainier District Little League rolled by Southwest 19-2.