Raindrops fell part way through the game, but tear drops would fall as the season came to a close for the Montesano Little League 11- and 12-year-old all-star team on Saturday with a 3-2 loss to Chehalis.
After a loss to Centralia on June 29, Montesano worked its way back through the losers bracket of the District III Major League Little League Baseball Tournament to face off against Chehalis for the championship. Because Montesano had already lost one game, it would have to beat Chehalis twice to win the title and advance to the state tournament. Monte won the first meeting between the two teams, 8-4, on July 3 to force a true championship game at Montesano’s Nelson Field on Saturday.
Chehalis took the lead in the first inning on a home run from Bryce Cline to go ahead, 1-0. The ball over the center-field fence would be one of only two balls put in play by Chehalis against Montesano starter Payton Quintinilla. The 12-year-old Quintinilla struck out 13 and walked just two batters over 4.2 innings work.
While Quintinilla was lights-out for Montesano, Chehalis starter Colby White was just as effective. Montesano was able to get the lead-off batter on base in each of the first three innings, but failed to plate a runner in all five innings of work for White.
“You have to give credit to Colby White, the guy threw a gem,” Montesano coach Corey Daniels said. “We hit into a 1-6-3 double play with one out. We had a lead-off double and hit the ball in the air to the infield. Those are just not things we do very often. We swung hard. It just didn’t work out today.”
The scoreboard stuck on 1-0 until the sixth inning. With both starters out, the final inning proved to be the most exciting.
Montesano was able to grab the lead back in the top of the sixth without getting a single base hit. Braden Dohrmann’s line drive to third base was dropped, allowing him to reach second base to start off the inning. Cole Daniels reached first base when his sacrifice bunt attempt was picked up by the Chehalis catcher who failed to tag Daniels before throwing to third base to try and get Dohrmann, who retreated to second. A walk to Quintinilla loaded the bases for Parker Plato. Plato showed discipline with a full count and watched ball four sail over his head to plate the tying run. The next two batters would strike out, but a walk by Ben Wills would give Monte the lead.
With Quintinilla on third base, Corey Daniels decided to roll the dice and tried a squeeze play.
“The catcher got lazy, he wasn’t even looking, so I said, ‘When he receives you’re gone’ and he went on the second pitch,” Corey Daniels said.
Quintinilla got a good jump as the catcher lofted the ball back to the pitcher, but the throw back to the catcher reached home plate just an instant before Quintinilla, whose foot was blocked by the catcher from ever reaching the plate.
Montesano had the lead, but would now have to face the top of the order for Chehalis. A double by Jaiyden Camoza led off the inning for Chehalis. Camoza would come around to score on a double by LeAndre Gaines to tie the contest, and Gaines would move to third on a ground out to send Carver Brennan to the plate with two outs and the winning run at third base.
Brennan shot the first pitch into the gap between third and short, but Cole Daniels, who was playing shortstop, made an excellent stop. Daniels was able to get off a throw to first, but by the time the ball glanced off the first baseman’s glove, Brennan had already reached home.
“I’m disappointed for them,” Corey Daniels said. “These kids worked so hard. The kids busted their tails. I’m proud of them. They never quit. It boils down to we just didn’t hit the ball.”