Sports

Steel Lake makes a little history

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

For the first time in history, a team from Steel Lake will play at the Washington State Little League Tournament.

Steel Lake Little League’s 11 and 12 year olds beat Chinook Little League (Enumclaw, Buckley) in the District 10 championship game Tuesday night, 8-3, at Mel Olson Stadium in White Center. Steel Lake swept through the 14-team tournament with a perfect 4-0 record. They will open the 2004 Washington State Little League Tournament tomorrow after receiving a bye through the first round. Steel Lake will play against the winner of a first-round game between North Kitsap American (Poulsbo) and the winner of the District 5 tournament (Eastern Washington) at 1 p.m. at Bill Reams East Sammamish Park in Sammamish. The state tournament will run through July 27.

“The kids are jacked,” head coach Stan Lanier said. “They are really pumped up.”

The winner of the 11-team state tournament advances to regionals in San Bernardino, Calif. The winner of regionals moves on to Williamsport, Penn. and the Little League World Series.

“You never know,” Lanier said.

Tuesday’s win over Chinook was closer than the final score. Steel Lake trailed 1-0 entering the fourth before exploding for eight runs in the final three innings.

Lucas Tisdel led off the fourth inning with a single, followed by a Kenny Johnson double off the wall. Jerrod Bachman then tripled to right field, scoring Tisdel and Johnson. Bachman scored when the Chinook cutoff throw went into the dugout, giving Steel Lake a 3-1 lead. A Jeff Edd double scored Bryce Leach, who reached on a walk, to make it 4-1.

In the sixth, Bachman led off with a double and back-to-back Chinook errors loaded the bases. T.J. Horsfall followed with a two-run single. Later in the inning, Edd knocked in Horsfall on an error and a Justin Lanier RBI double made it 8-1. Chinook tallied two unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth to finalize the score.

“It was a tough day,” Stan Lanier said. “But the kids really came through. It was tight and we just kind of exploded on them in a couple innings.”

Justin Lanier went the distance on the mound for Steel Lake, allowing no earned runs on five hits while striking out 10. Lanier and Leach, both left handers, each won a pair of games at the district tournament — all complete games. Leach is scheduled to throw the opener at state.

“They were both tough all tournament,” said Stan Lanier, who played Little League for Federal Way American in the 1970s before leading Federal Way High School to two-straight state basketball tournaments. He was named the Class 3A State Player of the Year in 1978.

Federal Way American Little League was knocked out of the District 10 Little League Tournament by Kent American on July 9. Kent gave American their second loss, 6-2. Their first loss of the tournament came to Kent National in the quarterfinals, 11-1.

Federal Way National lost to Auburn, 10-0, after a first-round 11-0 win over Soundview Little League. Federal Way American knocked National out of the tournament 12-0 on July 8.

In other tournament action:

• The Steel Lake Senior Little League team (14-15 year olds) will open the 2004 Washington State Tournament today against the winner of District 9 tournament at 5 p.m. at Glenwood Park in Vancouver. Steel Lake won the District 10 tournament.

• The District 10 Junior Little League Tournament (13 year olds) concluded Wednesday with Kent Little League beating Soundview in the final at the Federal Way National Little League Complex.

Federal Way American finished the tournament with a 1-2 record after losing to Auburn in their first game, 8-2, beating Tahoma/Fife-Milton/Skyview in the loser’s bracket, 5-4, and losing to Auburn, 11-1, Monday.

Steel Lake lost their first-round game to Auburn, 8-5, before winning two-straight over Bonney Lake/Sumner Little League, 10-9, and Renton South in the loser’s bracket. Steel Lake was knocked out by Soundview Monday night, 5-3.

• Soundview Little League, which draws from northeast Tacoma and Brown’s Point, advanced to the Washington State Junior Little League Softball Tournament (13 year olds) after winning the District 10 title Tuesday night at the Federal Way National Little League Complex.

Soundview beat Kent 2-0 in the title game to win the four-team tournament. Soundview beat Kent 10-0 in their opener and downed Fife/Milton, 16-2, in the semifinals to earn a rematch with Kent in the championship.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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