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The 8-and-under Lightning baseball team. - Contributed photo
The 8-and-under Lightning baseball team.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Thunder takes third place in Wenatchee baseball tourney

The 9-and-under Thunder baseball team took third place during the Wenatchee Eastmont Tournament on June 20-22. The tournament consisted of 12 teams from across the entire state.

Thunder won its first two games to begin the tournament. Behind strong pitching from Jacob Evans, Scott Ramseyer and Drew Christofferson, Thunder took a tie game into the third inning against hometown team Eastmont. But the offense would wake up for the 12-2 win on at bats from Justin Myers, with a triple, and Johnny Vander Veldon, with two doubles. Game two was against Black Hills and was also close through the first three innings, but then Thunder big bats took over, winning 10-1.

Ramseyer crushed an inside-the-park home run to lead Thunder to victory against the Seattle Senators, 7-1. Thunder finished pool play by earning the No. 1 seed out of 12 teams.

Thunder defeated Puyallup, 7-4, with strong pitching from Bligh Bjarnason and Luke Boxsen during the first game of the championship bracket.

Thunder drew the Senators for the second time and lost 10-2. The third-place consolation game saw Thunder beat North Seattle 7-4 to finish with a 5-1 record overall.

The 8-and-under Lightning wins championship

During the hottest weekend of the year, Coach Kurt Dammeier, along with Assistant Coaches Doug Miller and Gary Furukawa, led the All-Star Little League 8-and-under team, “Lightning,” to its first Championship Title June 29. Playing in 85-degree heat in Maltby, Lightning fought back from a previous loss to Newcastle (9-2) to prove it was the strongest team by beating Newcastle with a score of 12-5. Justin Ho led the teams in batting with an average of .750, followed by Alex Furukawa, Liam Dammeier, Jack Smith, Will St. Mary, Greg Fuchs and Reis Kissell, who all batted in the .400 to .462 range. Their defense against Newcastle and Maltby, who they had defeated twice to enter the championship game, was well supported by the terrific infield of Smith at third base, Fuchs at short stop, Kissell at second base, Ho at first and pitcher Furukawa. Cole Miller, Hunter Johnson, Mitchell Mandt, St. Mary and Ryan Moline kept the team on target with their competitive catching and outfielding.

Mercer Island All-Stars go 9-2 overall

The All-stars from the Mercer Island Little League are off to a great start in the LL District 9 All-star tournaments, going a collective 9-2, with four teams still undefeated.

In softball, the Majors (11 to 12-year-olds) All-stars bounced back from a first-round loss to eventual champion Sammamish to beat Fall City 16-3 and Snoqualmie Valley 9-6, en route to a third-place finish overall.

The Mercer Island 9-10 All-star Softball team beat Fall City 11-4 in the first round and then came back from a 14-2 deficit in the second inning against Sammamish to win 22-21. They played the Kirkland American All-stars in the winners bracket finals on Wednesday (results were not available at time of press).

In baseball, Mercer Island’s Majors (11 to 12-year-olds) All-stars shocked defending district champion and state runners-up Eastlake in game one of the District 9 tournament on Saturday. William Mansfield and Christopher Lawler combined for 15 strikeouts to preserve a 9-4 win.?Mansfield?hit a two-out solo home run?high over the?left center wall in the top of the first inning and then?struck out the side in the bottom to put the Islanders up 1-0 after one.?Sam Peterson and Keegan Ogard both hit clutch two-out RBI singles in the second to?take a?3-0 lead.?The powerful Eastlake line-up came alive in the third, taking a 4-3 lead on three home runs, first a towering shot over the right field foul pole, then a screaming line drive by the next batter that barely cleared the wall in center, and then another towering two-run shot to left center field.?

The Islanders regained the lead in the top of the fifth after Eastlake intentionally walked Mansfield to load the bases and Jacob Stenberg made them pay for it with a clutch bases-clearing double to the wall in right center field.?Lawler coolly shut Eastlake down in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings to preserve the 9-4 win.?

On Sunday, they followed up their big win over Eastlake with another strong showing against Fall City, winning 4-0 to advance to the winners bracket semifinals.??Sam Peterson?threw a?two-hitter, needing only 63 pitches for a complete game shutout.? Jacob Stenberg stayed hot with another clutch, two-run double.?William Mansfield added an RBI single.? The 11- and 12-year-olds played on Tuesday vs. Issaquah (after Reporter press time) with the winner advancing to the finals.

The Mercer Island 11U baseball all-stars enjoyed a first round bye, but were rested and ready for round two, beating Issaquah 9-1 on strong pitching from Brandon Lawler and Alex Bell. They play next on Tuesday (after Reporter press time) vs. the Bellevue Thunderbird LL all-stars with the winner advancing to the finals on Thursday (results were not available at press time).

Finally, the Mercer Island 9-10U all-stars are also on a tear, blasting four home runs with lights-out pitching and defense to outscore their first two opponents 21-1. In the first game on Saturday, Sam Pugel and Anthony Scalzo combined for three home runs and?nine RBI, including Pugel’s towering 240 foot grand slam in the second inning, as Mercer Island routed Snoqualmie Valley 11-1 in four innings for an easy mercy rule win.?Michael Bantle pitched three-plus solid innings for the win and Josh Stenberg closed out the game in the fourth, together allowing just one hit, one walk and one unearned run.?In addition to Pugel’s two home runs and six RBI, Scalzo was 2-2 with a single, a 3-run homer, a walk, four RBI?and three runs scored. David Emanuels was 2-2 with two doubles, a walk and two runs scored. Michael Bantle had a double, triple, RBI?and scored once. Josh Stenberg had a single and walk and scored twice. Nathan Gallatin singled and scored and Noah Hsue had a single and a spectacular diving stop and putout at second base.

In their second game on Sunday, Josh Stenberg?pitched 5-2/3?scoreless innings to?lead the Islanders to a 10-0 second round win over the Kirkland National 9-10 all-stars.?Stenberg allowed just two hits and a walk, while striking out five, before yielding the mound to Anthony Scalzo, who closed out the game with a three-pitch strikeout.?Eric Kim added a three-run home run to cap a six-run sixth inning.?David Emanuels was 3-for-3 with a walk and a run scored and Sam Pugel also stayed hot, going 3-for-4, scoring a run and knocking in a bunch more.? Shortstop Michael Bantle had two hits and scored twice. Michael Petrie was 2-for-3?and laid down?a nice sacrifice bunt in the fourth.?Stenberg, Scalzo and Andrew Pickles also recorded hits, and the defense was error-free. The 9-10s return to action on Wednesday (results were not available at press time).

For complete details and up-to-date schedule and location information, see www.MercerIslandLittleLeague.org.

Mudville SP surges into Koufax WA State Playoffs

Facing a “must-win” situation in virtually every one of its final eight league baseball games, Mudville SP completed its league season with a record of 14-8 by winning its last six straight games and seven of its final eight games to earn a playoff berth in the postseason Washington State Sandy Koufax Championships. One of the very few Mercer Island-based teams ever to advance to the elite Koufax playoffs, the 13U team — led by six Mercer Islanders — has also been selected to be the host team for the tournament, which will be held on Friday July 18 through July 21 at Island Crest Park.

The team beat three other playoff teams or contenders in its final eight-game run, outscoring its opponents in the eight games, 80-31. Over the final eight games, Andrew Summerville led the pitching staff, tossing 25 innings with an ERA of 1.96, with Adam Cline pitching 14 innings and giving up just 6 earned runs. With two players out due to injury and travel, all nine remaining players contributed to the surge. Ben Wessel led the power department, banging out six extra base hits and knocking in 16 RBI, while Summerville collected 11 RBI. Table setters Hayden Lee and Logan Barton-Rowledge led the team in runs scored, touching home 14 and 13 times respectively, with all nine players scoring at least four times and knocking in at least four runs. Matt Orehek and Sean Casey anchored the infield defense, Alex Emanuels managed the pitching staff flawlessly in catching all eight games, and Luke Hutchison played solid outfield defense. All nine players had On Base Percentages above .350, and four ­— Wessel, Lee, Barton-Rowledge, and Cline — got on base at a rate over .450.

The Koufax Championships begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 18, and continue from early morning to late evening throughout the weekend. Forty-six select teams from Everett to Tacoma competed in the Koufax League this summer, and the tournament will feature the top 16 battling for the title of Sandy Koufax WA State Champion. The Championship Game is Monday at 3:30 p.m. Mudville SP, sponsored by Security Properties, owners of Mercer Island’s Shorewood Heights, is the host team and welcomes spectators. Concession stands will be open and the fields will be dressed with bunting and a festive atmosphere.

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