Sports

Steel Lake teams finish second

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

A pair of Steel Lake all-star baseball teams fell just short at two Washington State Little League tournaments.

The Steel Lake Majors (11 and 12-year-olds) and Senior League (15 and 16-year-olds) teams lost in their respective state championship games. The Majors lost a heartbreaker Monday night to Redmond North in extra innings at Bill Reams East Sammamish Park in Sammamish, and the Senior Leaguers were beaten by Columbia Little League last Friday at Glenwood Park in Vancouver. A win by the Majors would have meant a trip to the regionals in San Bernardino, Calif., and a win by the Seniors would have sent them to Butte, Mont.

“It was tough,” said Majors manager Stan Lanier. “But this is going to be a huge highlight of (the players') lives. They learned a lot. There is a lot of experiences in there.”

The loss by Lanier’s team Monday might be the tougher of the two to swallow. Steel Lake entered the championship as the lone undefeated team in the 11-team, double-elimination tournament — meaning Redmond North had to beat them twice. During the first championship game in Sammamish Sunday, Redmond cruised to a 5-2 victory, which set up the winner-take-all matchup Monday night.

With the game tied at 3-3 in the final game, Steel Lake got its leadoff hitter on second base in the bottom of the sixth, but couldn’t push the winning run across, sending the game to extra innings.

After both teams failed to score in the seventh, Redmond used a leadoff home run and two other unearned runs in the top of the eighth to take a 6-3 lead.

Steel Lake responded in the bottom of the inning by putting two guys on base with two outs, bringing the tying run to the plate. But a drive by Kyle Lorenzen was caught by a Redmond outfielder against the fence to end Steel Lake’s memorable season.

“People have told me that if (the ball hadn't been caught), it would have been gone,” Lanier said of Lorenzen’s drive that would have tied the game. “I was really proud of him. He took a good whack at it.”

The Steel Lake Little Leaguers earned the berth into the state tournament by winning the District 10 title for the first time in the league’s history. Steel Lake beat North Kitsap, PacWest and Chehalis Little Leagues at the state tournament.

“We are really proud,” Lanier said. “We were just thrilled to win the district tournament. It was pretty cool. We got a lot of support. There was a ton of people there and it was just an awesome experience.”

The Steel Lake Majors All-Star team included Jerrod Bachman, Jeff Edd, Taylor Horsfall, Kenny Johnson, Justin Lanier, Mason Lapping, Bryce Leach, Erik Lindenauer, Lorenzen, Mitch McQueen, Branden Muraki and Lucas Tisdel. Stan Lanier was assisted by Marty Johnson and Pat Leach.

The Steel Lake Seniors did things a little differently. They lost their opening game of the tournament before winning four straight to earn the berth into the championship against undefeated Columbia Little League (Vancouver). Columbia downed Steel Lake July 23, 4-2, in the final. The game was tied 1-1 into the fifth, but Columbia added two runs in the inning on three Steel Lake errors.

Steel Lake closed the gap to 3-2 with a run in the sixth on a Kyle Freeman RBI single, but that’s all it could muster.

Steel Lake got back-to-back singles to lead off the seventh, but couldn’t push any runs across.

“It was a great season with a great bunch of players and coaches,” said Steel Lake manager Fred Fazio.

Jeremy Anderson, Jessie Boggs, Sean Doherty, Freeman, Cory Haywood, Tyler Jeffcoat, Jeff Moyer, Todd Muecklisch, Eric Nishimura, Teddy Spicer, Ron Tomyn, Jason Voigt and Vincent Voung made up the Seniors All-Star team. Fazio was assisted by Tom Tomyn, Bob Anderson and Ted Spicer.

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

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