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National Little League Takes Home Tournament of Champions Title
The Federal Way National Little League Majors Cardinals repeated as the winner of the Tournament of Champions last month, taking home the title at the South King County ballfields.
The Cardinals started out their title defense with a 1-0 win over the Steel Lake Braves, champions of Steel Lake Little League. Connor Ellingson scored the only run of the game on a RBI single from Nate Clow. Adam Taylor, Spencer Sugg, Cole Bakker and Ellingson pitched for the combined shutout, giving up only one hit, while Braves pitcher Jaylon Sandlin gave up eight hits and the one run.
Next up for the Cardinals were the Auburn Pirates, who came into the game with an 18-1 record. The game was a back and forth affair, with the Cardinals jumping out to an early two-run lead on a home run from Clow. The Pirates answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the first. Clow put the Cardinals back on top with a three-run homer, followed by a two-run homer from Ellingson to put the score at 7-3. The Pirates added a run to put the final score at 7-4. Ellingson and Taylor had pitching duties against the Pirates, each pitching three innings in the win.
The semi-finals saw the Cardinals facing off with the Kent Warriors. Bakker and the Warriors Nate Anderson locked horns in a pitchers duel for the first few innings, with Anderson helping his own cause with a two-run homer in the third inning, putting the Warriors up 3-1. Bakker shut the Warriors down the rest of the way, retiring 10 of the final 12 hitters he faced to hold the Warriors at three runs. The Cardinals opened the game up in the sixth inning, with seven getting on base in the inning. Taylor and Bakker each had a home run in the sixth to put the score at 7-3 and send the Cardinals onto the final.
In the final, the Cardinals faced the Fife Hurricanes, taking home the title with a 9-6 win. Isaac Olson pitched a sterling game, going five innings while giving up five runs on 55 pitches. Sugg closed the game out to bring the title home. Offensively, the Cardinals put together a complete “team” victory, with seven players scoring runs and seven players recording hits against the Hurricanes. Taylor contributed a home run, while Elijah Bakam, Payton Holloway and Ellingson all came up with big hits in tight spots in the game. The Hurricanes did not go down quietly, loading the bases in the sixth, before the Cardinals were able to turn a 1-2-3 double play to end the threat and secure the title.
The Cardinals finished their season with a 26-3 record, winning the regular season Majors Championship for the Federal Way National Little League, along with the End of Season Tournament Championship, which punched their ticket to the Tournament of Champions. The team is managed by John Sugg and coached by Steve Pearson, Jim Ellingson, Bryan Bakker, Bob Beck and Scott Chow. The team is made up of Aidan McClaren, Olson, Clow, Bakker, Ellingson, Sugg, Taylor, Bakam, TJ Rincon, Oscar Rincon, Holloway and Ellingson.