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LITTLE LEAGUE: Federal Way National loses two-straight to finish second at state
It was a heart-breaking way for the season to end for the Federal Way National Little Leaguers.
The 12-under all-star team lost two-straight games to Eastlake Little League in the championship round of the Washington State Little League Baseball Tournament Sunday in Vancouver. Eastlake, who Federal Way beat in the opening round of the tournament, now advances to the Northwest Regionals in San Bernardino, Calif.
Federal Way advanced to the state championship game for the first time in history after bearing Queen Anne Wednesday night at Luke Jensen Park, 7-3. The win forced Eastlake to beat National twice to claim the state title.
After losing their first game of the state tournament to Federal Way, 6-5, Eastlake won eight games in a row to claim the trip to California. Eastlake forced the winner-take-all game with a 13-7 win over National in the opening game of the championship round Sunday. Eastlake then beat Federal Way, 12-2, in the second game of the day.
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.
Federal Way's players included 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 was managed by Tom Wallat, who was assisted by Chuck Miller, Bob Beck and Mike Niksich.
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 League softball team finished in third place last week.
In other state tournament action:
• The National 10-11 all-star baseball team opened their Washington State Tournament at with a 6-5 loss to Burlington Edison Little League Saturday in Gig Harbor. Federal Way will take on Camas at 4:30 p.m. Monday in a loser-out contest.
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 (14-under) All-Star team opened its state tournament Saturday at Medical Lake High School near Spokane with a 15-3 loss to Stilly Valley. National will take on Key Peninsula Little League at 4 p.m. Monday in a loser-out game.
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.