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LITTLE LEAGUE: National opens with wins at a pair of state tournaments
A pair of Washington State Little League Tournaments got underway last weekend involving two Federal Way National squads.
The Little League Baseball (12-under) and Junior Softball (14-under) state tournaments kicked off Saturday and both Federal Way teams advanced into the semifinals in their respective brackets.
They are two of the four Federal Way National teams to win District 10 championships this season. The league also won the 10-11 baseball and Junior baseball championships earlier this summer. Those two state tournaments get underway on July 20.
The two wins by the Federal Way National Little League baseball team came at the marquee tournament of the all-star season. The 12-under tournament culminates on national television at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn.
In their opening game at the state tournament in Vancouver, National squeaked by Eastlake Little League, 6-5, Saturday. Federal Way then beat Ridgefield, 14-4, Sunday to advance into the semifinals.
Federal Way will take on West Seattle at 4:30 p.m. at Luke Jensen Park in Vancouver on Tuesday with a berth into the winner's bracket championship in the 13-team tournament.
The players include Malachi Afework, Blake Beck, Nate Clow, Tommy Davis, Gavin Knapp, Brandon Niksich, Travis Miller, Nicholas Orr, Brandham Ponce-Rodriguez, Ben Ray, Kyle Russell, Tyler Tribble, Tate Wallat and Mark Wright. The team is managed by Tom Wallat, who assisted by Chuck Miller, Bob Beck and Mike Niksich.
The winner of state tournament advances to the Northwest Regional Tournament in San Bernardino, Calif., and the winner of the Regional qualified for Williamsport.
A large group of the current Federal Way team have reached the state championship game the last two years.
The Federal Way National Junior softball team opened its state tournament Sunday at Valley Ridge Park in SeaTac with an 11-9 win over the District 8 champions. The National softball team will take on Mill Creek Little League at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Valley Ridge Park with a berth in the championship game on the line in the seven-team tournament.
The team includes Kim Brainard, Ashley Clark, Hannah Coburn, Kayla Gaerttner, Alex Haven, Amanda Henderson, Jessie Holder, Tricia Hultman, Halli McGraw, Isabelle McLarty, Dejia Phelps, Sam Simundson, Gennie Summers and Grace Sunitsch. The team is coached by Gary Haven.
The winner of the Junior Softball tournament advances to the Western Regional Tournament in Tucson, Ariz. The tournament will be played Aug. 1-8.
• The National 10-11 all-star baseball team will open their Washington State Tournament at 11:30 p.m. at Gig Harbor Little League's Complex on July 20. Federal Way ail take on Burlington-Edison Little League, the winners of District 11.
This year's Federal Way team includes Cole Bakker, David Bedell, Carter Berry, Alex Bradshaw, Connor Ellingson, Abiel Gonzales, Judah Graham, Colin Heffernan, Brady Houston, Tyler Hoeft, Spencer Sugg, Adam Taylor and Zachary Yoon. The team is coached by John Sugg, who is assisted by Steve Pearson, Bryan Bakker, Bob Beck and Harvey Markey.
• The Federal Way National/Steel Lake Junior All-Star team will open up its state tournament July at Medical Lake High School near Spokane. Federal Way/Steel Lake will take on the winner of the District 1 tournament at 4 p.m.
The Federal Way/Steel Lake team includes Justin Cater, Caleb Bryant, Derek Weinman, Evan Baxter, Darryl Worcester, Tyler Houston, Jonathan Grimstad, Brandon Sanders, Julian Alcantara, Chase Fazio, Jayshayn Ware and Patrick McFadden. The team is coached by Bob Clinton, Nick Clinton and Fred Fazio.