Larch Mountain’s run in the Washington State 8-10 Little League Baseball tournament came to an end on Sunday afternoon.
After starting the game with a rare triple play to stop a potential West Valley rally, Larch Mountain was unable to generate enough offense to keep up with the Yakima squad in a 12-2, five-inning loser-out loss at Failor Field in Aberdeen.
On Monday, West Valley will take on Mill Creek in a winner-to-title game, loser-out contest at 5 p.m. On Tuesday, the winner of Monday’s game will face Issaquah in the state 8-10 title game at 5 p.m. There is a 7:15 p.m. “if necessary game” scheduled if Issaquah loses the first game on Tuesday.
Larch Mountain will finish fourth overall in the state tournament and will be known for its patient approach at the plate and opportunistic base running. It’ll also be known as the team that executed a triple play in postseason competition, too.
In the top of the first inning, West Valley threatened with runners at first and second with no outs. West Valley’s Parker Mills laced a fly ball between center fielder Taydee Evenstar and left fielder Kyson Sayamnet and both fielders converged on the ball. After a collision, Sayamnet came up with the catch.
The runner at second base never tagged up and he ran to third. Sayamnet threw to shortstop Carson Rotter, who tossed the ball to second baseman Ruger Culp as the runner tried to get back to second base. Culp stepped on second for the force out, then ran down the first-base runner for the triple play.
Unfortunately for Larch Mountain, it was unable to get a foothold against West Valley starting pitcher Brandt Kneisler. West Valley shook off the triple play with a two-run third inning to start the scoring against Mountaineers starter Will Feltus.
Landen Birley’s RBI double and Mills’ RBI sacrifice fly to right field made it 2-0 West Valley. In the fourth, West Valley struck for five runs, with three runs scoring with two outs in the frame. Mills’ two-run ground-rule double made it 7-0, with Connor Speer getting a bases-loaded RBI when he was hit by a pitch and Arthur Knight slugging a RBI double.
With their tournament lives on the line, Larch Mountain pushed back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. However, it stranded the bases loaded at 7-2. Evenstar and Feltus each slugged RBI singles for the Mountaineers.
In the fifth inning, West Valley finished the game with another five-run frame. Josh Sosa and Knight’s RBI singles were matched by a wild pitch and a two-run error in the field.
West Valley 002 55 — 12 9 0
Larch Mtn 000 20 — 2 3 1
Kneisler, Sosa (4) and Glenn; Feltus, Rotter (5) and Gonia.