Sports

Team off to Little League World Series

By COLE COSGROVE

Sports editor

Seven players from the Federal Way area are part of the Washington State Big League division team that made it to the Little League World Series Aug. 3-10 in Easley, S.C. It’s the furthest a team in this age group from Washington has advanced in Little League tournament play.

The team consists of 16- to 18-year-old players from Steel Lake, Federal Way American Federal Way National, Kent, Auburn and Renton little leagues.

It’s the oldest division of the Little League baseball program. The team is managed by Greg Cagampang of Renton and its coaches include Harvey Williams, Jr. from Steel Lake and Lee Rentias of Federal Way National.

Washington’s opening game of the international tournament is at noon today. The championship game will be televised on ESPN2.

The team qualified for the World Series after winning the Western Regional championship this week in Scottsdale, Ariz. Prior to that, the team won the Washington State tournament in Olalla.

“You never know about these things. You never know how far you’ll go,” said Dean McColgan, whose son David plays for the team. “Two weeks ago we were playing in Olalla with horses in the field. Back then, just to think about winning state was a challenge.”

The team flew from Arizona straight to South Carolina, where it will face teams from other U.S. regions, as well as teams from Latin America, Canada, Europe and Asia.

In the Western Regionals, the team won its first game 8-0 over Montana on July 26. Tyler Walker and Keaka Frank combined to pitch a no-hitter.

Washington followed with an 18-4 win over Nevada, in which it had 19 hits. Luke Hoffer, Bryan Grover and David McColgan shared pitching duties.

The team’s only loss of the tournament was to Alaska. The game was tied 1-1 until the top of the eighth (the teams only play eight innings). Frank blasted a 390-foot home run to put the team ahead 2-1. It was the only home run of the tournament. But Alaska came back in the bottom of the inning for a 3-2 win.

Washington responded with a 13-3 over previously undefeated Oregon. McColgan pitched 5 2/3 innings and struck out seven. Johnny Wolf had two triples and a double.

A tiebreaker decision, based on the least amount of runs scored against a team, put Washington in the finals. The championship game was supposed to be played Wednesday night against a team from Southern California. But eight of the Southern California players were suspended the night before the game and the team had to forfeit, giving Washington the championship.

At the World Series, the team with the best record in each pool advances to the finals. Washington is in a pool with teams from Latin America and Canada.

“Washington had the best kids, from a behavioral standpoint,” said Dean McColgan, who attended the games in Scottsdale. “There was not one ounce of trouble, not one degrading word from the dugout against the umpire or the other teams. They really showed a lot of class in what they did at this tournament.

“After the Southern California issue, they probably could have put the next team in line in the championship game. But I think they saw Washington as a good representative of the Western Region.”

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