West Seattle overcomes gallant Nationals effort to become District Champions
By Gerardo Bolong
The West Seattle Little League Majors (11/12 age) baseball All-Stars rallied in the bottom of the sixth inning to edge out the opportunistic South Highline Nationals 6-5 at the Bar-S ball fields on Thurs., July 12, to complete an unbeaten run to the 2018 District VII championship and earn a state entry.
SHNLL southpaw Jeffrey Joe had completed a gritty 85-pitch count limit after retiring the first batter in the sixth inning and the Westsiders faced a 5-3 deficit.
Parker Eley greeted the reliever with a single and was quickly followed by an infield single from Blake Taft. On came Bobby Trigg to deliver a deep triple that scored two runs for a 5-5 deadlock. The ball crossed the slope and rolled all the way to the fence while Trigg raced to third base.
"I wanted to crush the ball," said Trigg.
Up to the plate stepped Tristan Buehring, who drove the pitch cleanly through the middle for the game winning RBI that set off West Seattle celebrations and South Highline National sad acceptance of the season's end.
"I knew I had to drive in a run anyway I could," he said.
This even match up began with two innings of scoreless ball before South Highline made the most of its chances in the top of the third inning.
Alex Lavasser singled off the pitcher's mitt with one out. A two base throwing error by the catcher on an attempted pick off play sent Lavasser to third base from where he later scored easily on an infield throwing error.
Lefthanded hitting Miles Gosztola evened the score in the bottom of the frame when his well hit ball into the left centerfield gap just kept climbing until it cleared the fence to force a 1-1 tie.
The see-saw action of game play continued in the fourth inning as three walks and a Lavasser single sent the Nationals ahead 2-1.
It was Taft who sent West Seattle into the lead on a single that was also misplayed in the outfield as the two-run play earned the Westsiders a 3-2 advantage.
Continuing the pulsating, back-and-forth sequence, the Nationals from Normandy Park regained the lead in the top of the fifth inning.
Oliver Turassci opened with a single before being driven home by Joe's triple. Turassci later scored on a wild pitch for a 5-3 South Highline National margin heading into the dramatic sixth inning conclusion.
"I love this team," WS manager Mike Fahy said. "It was just amazing. We're 14 strong and everyone can contribute from top to bottom. There really is no bottom. We talk about best contributions and best effort."
South Highline National worked its way to the championship round after a tough 5-4 loss to Renton Little League in the first round. Regaining momentum, SHN crushed Seattle Central 16-4 before defeating Rainier District 5-3. National then ousted a game Pacwest All-Star team 3-2 in seven innings ahead of a 10-7 win against Renton.
West Seattle blasted Pacwest 18-0 ahead of a 20-0 drubbing of Rainier District. Renton tested the mettle of the Westsiders before West Seattle won a 2-1 game on a sixth inning walk off two-run homer to gain unbeaten status for the championship round.
Players for 2018 District VII Majors All-Stars are Joe Sherick, Miles Gosztola, Eli Palmer, Caden Fahy, Matthew Henning, Wyatt Glover, Robbie Foisy, Matthew Hazlegrove, Simon Vance, Tristan Buehring, Jake Daily, Parker Eley, Blake Taft and Bobby Trigg.
Assisting manger Mike Fahy are coaches Sean Eley and Brian Sherick.
The champions enter state play at Sedro Wooley on July 21st, at noon against the District 11 host team.
Photos by Kurt Howard
Both teams showed wonderful sportsmanship and class. A credit to their families and their coaches.