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LITTLE LEAGUE: Federal Way National 10-11 baseball all stars finish second at state

Names of the kids on the Federal Way National Little League 10-11 baseball team that finished second at the state tournament: 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. - Courtesy photo
Names of the kids on the Federal Way National Little League 10-11 baseball team that finished second at the state tournament: 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.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The Federal Way National Little League 10-11-year-old all star team came close to winning a state baseball championship Monday afternoon. But it wasn't meant to be.

Sammamish Little League downed National in a winner-take-all game, 10-3, at Freedom Field in Mill Creek at the 2012 Washington 10/11 Baseball State Tournament.

The state-championship loss came a day after Federal Way beat Sammamish in the first championship game Sunday, 5-1. National finished 6-2 at the 13-team tournament with both losses coming to Sammamish.

The Federal Way team included 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. The team was coached by Tom Wallat, Mike Niksich and Chuck Miller.

National earned the second chance at Sammamish thanks to an impressive pitching performance by Gavin Knapp on Sunday morning during Federal Way's 5-1 win. Knapp threw a six-inning complete-game during the win, allowing only one run on three hits. The Federal Way offense was also impressive behind Knapp, committing zero errors.

In other tournament action:

Federal Way 11, Chehalis 2 (Saturday)

National earned the berth into the championship round with the win over Chehalis in the loser's bracket final Saturday. Ponce was very impressive on the mound for Federal Way, throwing 88 pitches during the complete-game performance. Ponce allowed only six hits and one earned run.

Federal Way 11, Cascade 8 (Friday)

Cascade took advantage of some miscues by Federal Way to keep the team close, but the National offense was too much in the end. Wright finished 4 for 4 with a home run and Wallat and Davis both finished with three hits.

Ponce was 2 for 3 with a double and Beck was also 2 for 3.

Federal Way 16, Bainbridge Island 6 (July 19)

National bounced back from its first loss by blowing away Bainbridge. Offensively, Federal Way was led by Wright, who finished 3 for 3 with a home run and four RBIs. National also got three hits from Afework and two hits from Ray and Knapp.

Federal Way used three pitchers during the game, including Niksich, Ponce and Beck.

Sammamish 9, Federal Way 8 (July 18)

National was dropped into the loser's bracket with their first loss to Sammamish. Both teams finished with 12 hits, but Sammamish pounded out six extra-base hits.

Federal Way got two hits a piece from Wallat, Davis, Miller and Knapp.

Federal Way 13, Spokane South 1 (July 15)

In the second game, National got a solid pitching performance from Wright, Niksich and Ponce.

Ray and Wallat paced the offense with three hits each.

Federal Way 11, Walla Walla Pacific 1 (July 14)

National kicked off the 2012 state tournament with a blowout win over Walla Walla. Federal Way got a strong pitching performance from Davis and Knapp and Wright led the offense with two hits, including a home run.

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