Saturday, August 24, 2013

Eastlake’s Incredible Run Comes to a Close

by Jackson Safon

This year’s Eastlake Little League 12U all-star team was the first ever to make it to the World Series from Eastlake, and they made their trip count. The team finished 3-2 and ended up falling just short of reaching the United States championship, however, they did end up being the third best all-star team in the nation. That is an incredible feat and something that should never be forgotten. I am proud to say I once played for Eastlake Little League.

Losing yesterday against Connecticut was tough, especially because Eastlake was up 13-5 after the top of the fourth inning. An offensive explosion in that inning lead by Eastlake’s bench led to ten runs in the inning alone and a seemingly insurmountable lead. Adam Carper, Zach Olson, Jack Titus and Jack Rud (the four bench players) all came up with hits in the fourth to spark the run.

Eastlake made a deep run in the Little League World Series, but in the end, Connecticut was just too much to handle.
Matt Slocum/The Assosciated Press

However, Connecticut did not go away and scored once in the bottom of the fourth and then seven in the bottom of the fifth to eventually tie it up on a Chad Knight solo homerun. After a scoreless sixth and top of the seventh, Chad Knight came up big once again for Connecticut with a walk-off RBI that was ripped into deep left field. Give credit to the kids from Connecticut because they didn't quit and they played a great game.

One player from Eastlake I want to give credit to is Dalton Chandler. He pitched an incredible four and one third innings in his last time on a Little League mound. Dalton left it all out on the field and came up big in the most important situations. Even after he left the mound, he came up with a couple of big plays at shortstop and was a threat at the plate the entire game. Dalton is arguably the best player on Eastlake’s team this year and he showed why with a great all-around performance in yesterday’s loss to Connecticut.

Dalton Chandler had an amazing LLWS.
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Even though Eastlake’s season came to a sad finish, they deserve endless praise for an unbelievable run through the district, state, regional, and World Series tournaments. Every single player had big moments. The coaches had tough decisions to make that all helped lead the team deep into the tournament. The fans were incredible in Williamsport and back on the home front. The Northwest team hats were the only hats to be sold out at the World Series and the Sammamish Teen Center was packed every game for viewing parties. Finally, the parents of the players need to be thanked for the time they had to take out of their schedules to chaperone their kids around all summer and eventually across the country.

Eastlake Little League has the third best all-star team in the nation. It cannot be said too many times. The kids and coaches will return to a heroes welcome and it is most deserved. Go Eastlake.

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