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LITTLE LEAGUE: Federal Way National wins District 10 title for second year in a row

Federal Way National Little Leaguer Spencer Sugg throws a pitch during the District 10 9-10 All-Star Baseball Tournament at GSA Park in Auburn. Federal Way will face Kent in the district championship.  - Photo courtesy Jim Sketoe
Federal Way National Little Leaguer Spencer Sugg throws a pitch during the District 10 9-10 All-Star Baseball Tournament at GSA Park in Auburn. Federal Way will face Kent in the district championship.
— image credit: Photo courtesy Jim Sketoe

For the second year in a row, the Federal Way National Little League 9- and 10-year-old all-star team did things the hard way.

After winning their opener over Bonney Lake/Sumner at the District 10 9-10 Baseball All-Star Tournament at GSA Park in Auburn, National was promptly bounced into the loser’s bracket after a quarterfinal loss to Auburn Little League.

The loss meant Federal Way would have to win six-straight games to secure the District 10 championship for the second year in a row, and National did exactly that.

Federal Way completed their six-game winning streak Monday night with a 9-3 win over Kent Little League to secure the District 10 championship for the second consecutive season.

“What started out to be a very difficult loss at the beginning of the tournament turned out to be the thing that allowed the team to come together,” said head coach John Sugg. “Playing each day helped us get a little better each day, and prepared us for the games we knew we were going to have to win at the end. The loss was a real blessing in disguise. Although it was tough to take at the time, we felt we had the better team.”

National entered the championship round needing to beat Kent twice to secure the title, and earned the second game after downing them, 14-5, Sunday. The two teams were rained out both Friday and Saturday.

In the first championship game, Federal Way limited Kent to just five hits and got a big offensive day from Colin Heffernan, who finished 2 for 5 with two doubles and four RBIs. National also got two RBIs each from Nate Clow, Abiel Gonzales and Spencer Sugg.

The win moved Federal Way into Monday’s winner-to-state game. Federal Way broke the game open with four runs in the second inning to take a 5-1 lead, which included a two-out, bases loaded double by Heffernan.

National tallied four more runs in the top of the sixth inning, highlighted by a two-RBI single by Tyler Hoeft. Kent finished with just one hit, but Federal Way pitchers walked 10 and hit two batters during the game.

Federal Way earned the shot at Kent after winning four-straight games in four-straight nights. National beat Steel Lake (14-3), Soundview (20-2), Chinook (23-0) and a rematch with Auburn (1-0) Thursday night in loser-out contests.

This run by Federal Way through the District 10 Tournament is like deja vu for National. Last year, Federal Way won five-straight, loser-out games to take the district all-star title after losing in the second round. National was also forced to beat Kent twice in the championship round to advance to the state tournament. Federal Way eventually finished second at state.

This year’s Federal Way National team includes Elijah Bakam, Cole Bakker, Carter Berry, Nate Clow, Connor Ellingson, Abiel Gonzales, Judah Graham, Colin Heffernan, Tyler Hoeft, Spencer Sugg, Adam Taylor and Zachary Yoon.

“The boys worked hard in their preparation and never looked past the game at hand,” John Sugg said. “It worked out great and we are looking forward to representing our district at the upcoming state tournament.”

The Steel Lake Little League 9-10 all-star team lost to Kent in their opener June 16 before beating South Hill in a loser-out contest. Steel Lake included Blake Bryant, Zach Chanes, William Eagling, Jack Ellis, Justin Maggerise, Austin Null, Ryan Oka, Elyas Poore, Justin Sanders, Jaylon Sandlin, Jeffrey Sichmeller and Alex Wick. The team was coached by Ron Angelot, Tom Maggerise and Brett Sandlin.

The 2012 Washington 9/10 Baseball State Tournament will also take place at GSA Park in Auburn and will kickoff July 14. Federal Way will play against the champion from District 13, which encompasses the greater Spokane area, at 3 p.m.

In other District 10 all-star tournament action:

• The 9-10 district softball tournament started Saturday (June 23) at Browns Point Elementary School in Northeast Tacoma. Federal Way National won its first three games of the tournament and played for the district title on Thursday against Tahoma (after press time)

National beat Soundview Saturday, Tahoma Sunday and Bonney Lake/Sumner on Tuesday. Tahoma will have to beat Federal Way twice to win the District 10 championship.

The National team includes Abigail Cretti, Callie Davis, Ainsely Yoshizumi, Kaycie Haven, Sierra Jasso, Jessica Karmell, Maclairen Magruder, Tiana McLarty, Destiny Medina, Faith Morris, Emma Ray, Kawehi Sharpe, Anna Swanson and Leyna Wiley.

• The 10-11 baseball tournament kicked off Saturday at GSA Park in Auburn, and Federal Way National advanced into the semifinals with a pair of wins.

In its opener Saturday, National beat Auburn and downed Kent Monday in the quarterfinals. They were set to take on Soundview on Thursday (after press time) with a berth into the championship on the line.

The team includes Malachi Afework, Blake Beck, Tommy Davis, Gavin Knapp, Travis Miller, Brandon Niksich, Brandham Ponce, Ben Ray, Kyle Russell, Tyler Tribble, Tate Wallat and Mark Wright.

Steel Lake was also still alive in the tournament. They beat South Hill in their opener before losing to Soundview. Steel Lake played Auburn in a loser-out game Thursday (after press time).

The team includes Hunter Burget, Matthew Cundiff, Adam Daoud, Quinten Fedor, Rupaerake (Rake) Fuavai, Cory (CJ) McKelvey, Raydin McSweeney, Joshua Moreno, Jordon Service, Connor Smith, Connor Wells and Jon Wilkinson. The team is coached by Lionel Moreno, Jay Bennett and Randy Service.

• Federal Way National has combined with Soundview Little League for a team in the 10-11 district softball tournament. The team opened with a victory over Chinook/Fife/Milton/Edgewood Sunday at Browns Point Elementary.

Federal Way/Soundview will play a combined team from Auburn and Kent at 6 p.m. Thursday at Browns Point (after press time) with a berth into the championship on the line.

The team includes Riley Anderson, Hannah Blackmon, Camille Colglazier, Lindsay Cummings, Lacey McMullin, Nayah Page, Audrey Patton, Marie Palomo, Rebecca Renner, Brianna Thompson, Sarah Williams and Alexandria Zanger.

• The district Little League (11-12) softball tournament will start Saturday at Brannan Park in Auburn. Federal Way National will play Bonney Lake/Sumner in their opener at 9 a.m.

The team includes Kaelyn Barnwell, Taytum Blake, Karsyn Bryant, Tina Carterman, Riley Clark, Marissa Fenton, Sierra Harriage, Autumn Harris, Amanda Henderson, Halli McGraw, Sophia Musiak, Kaela Nokes, Grace Sunitsch and Hannah Togia. The team is managed by Austin Koehler.

• The marquee event of the all-star tournament season, the 2012 Little League (11-12), kicks off July 7 at the Federal Way National Complex. The tournament ultimately culminates at the Little League World Series.

Federal Way opens at 9 a.m. against South Hill Little League. The team includes Antonio Burns, Connor Keene, Eli Graham, Ethan Rogers, Evan Brewer, Garrett Morris, Jaycee Fraser, Luke Tedrick, Quin Hanson, Tim Hughes and Tyler Houston.

Steel Lake gets things going, also at 9 a.m., against Bonney Lake/Sumner. The Steel Lake team consists of Ryan Angelot, Darnel Calugay, Anujay (AJ) Chopra, Colin Floyd, Cory Jex, Jake Jex, Cameron Naden, Nicholas Oka, Brandon Sanders, Daniel Shafer, Jordan Taylor, Jared Thompson, Michael Woods and Travis Zumwalt. The team is coached by Justin Compton, Brandon Severson and Aaron Bronson.

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