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LITTLE LEAGUE: Federal Way National Cardinals win Tournament of Champions, finish perfect

By CASEY OLSON
Federal Way Mirror Sports editor
June 12, 2013 · Updated 2:26 PM
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The Federal Way National Cardinals won the District 10 Tournament of Champions Tuesday to finish a perfect 26-0 season. The Cardinals beat Soundview Elite in the title game, 6-0. / Courtesy photo

The Cardinals became the first Federal Way National Little League baseball team to win the District 10 Majors Tournament of Champions since 1989 Tuesday with a 6-0 victory over the Soundview LL Elite in the 12-and-under title game in Enumclaw.

"This is a special 12-year-old class of player that had the opportunity to play in three of the past four Tournament of Champions tournaments," said head coach John Sugg. "They’ve had a great run through their youth baseball experiences, and they will be players that will continue to work hard and compete playing at a higher level."

The shutout of Soundview completed a perfect 26-0 season for the Cardinals, who also beat the champions of Kent Little League and Auburn during the Tournament of Champions.

In the title game Tuesday, the Cardinals got an epic game from Tommy Davis. Davis struck out 17 of the 18 possible outs and allowed only one hit during the 6-0 shutout.

"It was one of the best pitching performances that you will ever see at this level," Sugg said. "He had all his pitches working and had the batters guessing the whole game."

Davis also hit a three-run home run in the third inning, knocking in Connor Ellingson and Zak Gregg to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.

Federal Way added two more runs in the fourth on RBI singles from Gregg and Nate Clow. The Cardinals finalized the scoring in the sixth on another RBI from Clow.

Federal Way's run started with a 12-1 win over the Kent Patriots Saturday. Davis and Clow combined on the mound to give up just three hits while striking out nine. Offensively, Nic Orr and Davis both connected on three-run home runs and nine different players collected hits for the Cardinals.

The best game of the tournament came in the semifinals when Federal Way beat the Auburn Angels, 5-4, on Monday.

Auburn took a 4-0 lead after the second inning before Federal Way battled back to steal the victory. Clow got things going with a two-run home run in the fourth inning and cut the lead to 4-3 on an RBI single by Spencer Sugg in the fifth.

Down to their last three outs, the Cardinals got a single from Clow, which was followed by a clutch two-out double to tie the score at 4-4. The winning run was scored when Jordan Jones stole home.

In the bottom of the sixth, Clow relieved starter Gavin Knapp and shut the Angels down in order. Knapp threw the first five innings, striking out six.

"It was a great season for the team," Sugg said. "Our goals never included winning all our games. Our goals were just to work hard and get better each week and play our best baseball at the end of the season."

The Cardinals players include Tommy Davis, Gavin Knapp, Zak Gregg, Joey Mullarky, Jordan Jones, Nic Orr, Connor Ellingson, Adam Taylor, Cole Bakker, Spencer Sugg, Nate Clow, TJ Rincon and Elijah Bakam.  They are managed by Sugg, who is assisted by Steve Pearson, Jim Knapp, Jim Ellingson and Bryan Bakker.

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