West Seattle All-Stars win district 7
By Gerardo Bolong
West Seattle completed a three-game unbeaten run to the 2018 District VII 9-11 age division of Little League baseball title by holding off hard-hitting Renton 8-5 at the Pacwest fields on Tues., June 26.
The Westsiders will play at the state tournament beginning on July 14 with a home field advantage as the games are scheduled for the Pacwest fields in SeaTac
Leading 8-0 after three innings, WS was hard pressed to hold off the potent attacks of Renton, but stayed focused for victory.
“Before the tournament, we had lots of good players,” said manager Otis Moore. “We didn’t have lots of experience as a team. They played solid ball and hit well as a team. When they were challenged, they stuck together as a team and were mentally tough.”
Against the Rentonites, it appeared that the game was well in hand after the early innings.
Jesse LaBella led off the first inning with a single. One out later, Reece Holmes walked to bring Jones Kasperson to the plate. Kasperson triggered a run- scoring single up the middle. A second run was posted on the play when the center fielder was unable to cleanly field the ball. Moving to second base on the sequence of actions, Holmes scored on a Caden Ross single for a 3-0 lead.
Renton Little League had runners on second and third base with one out in the top of the third, but was unable to score.
In the home half of the frame, WSLL rocked for runs. Beginning with Cody Buehring’s single and a Renton wild pitch, WS was in rhythm. Reece Holmes then rapped a run-scoring double. Kasperson legged out an infield single ahead of a Lincoln Scott one-out walk. WS scored four additional runs on a misplayed fielder’s choice ground ball plus an infield throwing error to lead 8-0.
Renton loaded the bases in the top of the fourth inning, but scored only one run thanks to strong defense and Kasperson’s pitching.
Alvin Chang’s towering home run over the centerfield fence triggered a three-run Renton fifth inning as RLL drew within 8-4.
Powerful Renton scored in the sixth inning, but left fielder Holmes threw to third baseman Ivan Moore for an easy tag on a slow-footed runner who tried to advance from first base to third on a deep single.
After RLL scored one run, relief pitcher Cam Fitterer struck out two consecutive batters to end the game.
Kasperson left the mound with an 8-3 lead in the fifth inning and no outs.
“All the people that believed helped the momentum,” he said. “The fans, all of them cheering, helped me.”
Prior to facing Renton, West Seattle opened the tournament with a tense game against the Rainier District. Placing runners on base, but unable to score, WS trailed 1-0 after five innings. After registering a run in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Westsiders finally won the game with a run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Next came a pitching gem by Reece Holmes.
According to manager Moore, Holmes came within two inches of recording a third strike on his last batter before leaving the mound. Duncan Monnin came on in relief, allowing a single before closing out the game.
Jesse LaBella, Cody Buehring, Reece Holmes, Jones Kasperson, Caden Ross, Licoln Scott, Ivan Moore, Duncan Monnin, Cody Sazama, Hudson Harding, Henry Newgard, Cam Fitterer and Andrew Rhinehart comprise the West Seattle player roster.
Assisting manager Moore are coaches Matt LaBella and Justin Buehring.
Home plate umpire Erez Wren has been honored by being selected for the Junior League Softball World Series.