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LITTLE LEAGUE: National to play for state championship Sunday; Junior Softball third
For the first time in the history of Federal Way National Little League, the 12-under all-star baseball team will play for a state championship.
The Federal Way Little Leaguers beat Queen Anne Wednesday night at Luke Jensen Park in the Vancouver area, 7-3, to advance into the 2013 Washington Little League Baseball State Tournament.
National will now have to get beat twice in the championship round to not win the state title. Federal Way will take on the winner of the consolation bracket at 1 p.m. in Vancouver on Sunday.
The win over Queen Anne was National’s fourth win at the state tournament. Federal Way opened with a 6-5 win over Eastlake on July 13, then beat Ridgefield, 14-4. National then downed West Seattle Little League, 14-6, Tuesday before beating Queen Anne.
If Federal Way were to win one of its next two games, they will not only claim the state championship, but also qualify for the Northwest Regional Tournament in San Bernardino, Calif. The regionals will run Aug. 2-10 and feature the winners from state tournaments in Alaska, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington.
The winner of the Northwest Regional Tournament qualifies for the nationally-televised Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn., next month.
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.
A large group of the current Federal Way team have reached the state championship game the last two years in different age divisions.
The National Little League team is one of four from Federal Way to win a District 10 championship and qualify for separate state tournaments.
The Junior Softball (14-under) all-star team finished up in third place Wednesday night with an 8-3 loss to East Jefferson/Sequim in the consolation bracket final. National won their first game Sunday over the District 8 champs, 11-9, before losing to Mill Creek Tuesday, 9-5, at Valley Ridge Park in SeaTac.
The team included 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 was coached by Gary Haven.
• 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 Saturday. Federal Way will 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 Saturday 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.