A second place finish felt like a championship victory for the South Hill Little League All-Star 9/10 boys baseball team in the District 10 tournament June 20 at the Federal Way National Little League Complex.
SHLL compiled a 5-2 record at the tourney, advancing to the district championship game, where it lost to Federal Way, 14-8. Second place is the best finish ever for a SHLL All-Star baseball team.
SHLL 9/10 head coach Michael Casper said the opener against Sumner/Bonney Lake on June 14 set the tone for the entire tournament. SHLL trailed 11-3 early, but staged a huge comeback, rallying for a 12-11 victory on a walk-off single by Ethan Robertson.
“We scored eight runs to tie it and then won the game with a walk-off single,” Casper said. “That was a turning point for us. We just simply believed in ourselves. I didn’t see anyone get down, even when we were losing 11-3. Nobody was hanging their heads. We rose up to the challenge and loved the role of being the underdog.”
SHLL then defeated Chinook Little League, 15-5, in its second game, but suffered its first defeat courtesy of a 11-3 loss to Federal Way on June 16. The loss put SHLL against the ropes in the double elimination tournament. The all-stars won their next two games before facing Kent in the semifinals. SHLL defeated Kent, 2-1, in eight innings to advance to the finals and secure a rematch against Federal Way.
“We were excited to represent our league and kind of carry our league flag a little bit,” Casper said. “It was for everyone before us and everyone after us.”
SHLL bolted out to a 7-3 lead, but eventually lost, 14-8, to Federal Way in the title game.
“We fought all the way to end,” the coach said. “Even until the final out, the kids kept coming back and were fighting. We still believed. We hung right in there with them.”
The South Hill Little League 9/10 All-Stars roster consisted of Robertson, Donte Grant, Wyatt Jones, Denzel Boston, Robby Rhyner, Cameron Casper, Cameron Sonnenfeld, Ethan Carlough, Scoop Schuur, Cody Perkins, Tyler Lawrence, JT Palmer and KJ Edwards.