Last week was a tough time for two local Little League 11- and 12-year-old majors All Star softball squads, as they were quickly eliminated from post-season competition at the District 9 all-star tournament at Centennial Fields in Snoqualmie.
Action began last Tuesday, July 1, as both Snoqualmie Valley and Fall City Little League teams opened play, with Snoqualmie Valley facing Sammamish, and Fall City facing Issaquah.
In the Fall City game, the main offensive spark came when Nikki Carroll doubled, then later scored on a sacrifice bunt by Paige Wetherbee. It turned out to be too late, as the Issaquah team rolled to an 11-1 victory, knocking Fall City into the loser’s bracket.
Fall City, according to manager Doug McLaughlin, was battling a little rust; his team hadn’t played a game in three weeks.
“Just been practicing,” McLaughlin said. “Can’t play any games, because the Little League doesn’t allow any games, so it’s just been practicing every night and trying to get as close to game condition as you can.”
Meanwhile, Snoqualmie Valley had their hands full with Sammamish, as their pitching dominated Valley bats on the way to a 17-0 win. Sarah Krieble singled and had a stolen base, but Snoqualmie Valley was unable to get much else going against a very tough Plateau team.
Games held last Wednesday, July 2, for both teams — Snoqualmie Valley against Kirkland American, and Fall City against a combined team from Bellevue and Mercer Island leagues — were suspended early due to the lightning storms which hit the Valley. Those games resumed last Thursday, July 3, and for Snoqualmie Valley, it appeared that Mother Nature’s electricity had found a home in their bats. Krieble tripled, and Tamarra Crowe and Hannah Larson doubled, helping lead the Valley girls to an 8-3 win over Kirkland American, knocking the Kirkland players out of postseason.
Fall City, though, had a much more difficult time with the MI/Bellevue combined team, falling 16-3. The MI/Bellevue girls then faced off against Snoqualmie Valley last Thursday, and while Courtney Wilhelm had a nice two for four effort for Snoqualmie Valley, the players from Mercer Island and Bellevue won a slugfest, 9-6, knocking Snoqualmie out. The MI/Bellevue team was a combined unit made up of young players from three Little Leagues: Mercer Island, Bellevue East and Bellevue Thunderbird.
Fall City’s Little League this season had several girls’ softball teams in various age levels, and McLaughlin likes what he sees now and in the future.
“We had two Majors teams, two Coast, and three Minors, so the league’s growing,” he said. “We’re getting better, having some success. It’s been fun.”
The Snoqualmie Valley Little League is growing, according to manager Rob Stevens, who is keeping things in perspective.
“We’re just trying to get them to progress, and want to strive to be better as players and as people in our community,” Stevens said.
“That’s the whole goal, make sure they’re having fun and working towards the high school goal,” he added. Stevens has tried to keep pressure off the girls.
“As the only team representing the Snoqualmie Valley softball organization, they’ve got a lot of weight on their shoulders so we’ve been trying to keep it relaxed,” he said.
This week, all of the other District 9 tournaments with local representation are taking place. For baseball, 9- and 10-year-old teams play in Issaquah; 10- and 11-year-old teams play in Redmond at Hartman Park; the Majors, for 11- and 12-year-olds, play at Beaver Lake Park in Sammamish, and the Juniors, for ages 13 and 14, play at Wilburton Park in Bellevue. For softball, 9- and 10-year-old teams play in Kirkland, 10- and 11-year-old teams are at Eastlake High School. Both of these tournaments feature Fall City entries only; all baseball tournaments with the exception of the Juniors competition have teams from both local Little Leagues competing. Snoqualmie Valley is the lone local league participating in the Juniors event. Should any of the local teams in any of these tournaments win their events, they will advance to state tournament competition.