It took a come-from-behind effort in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Montesano finished its unbeaten run through the District III 9-10 Little League Tournament to repeat as district champs.
Montesano trailed 6-5 going into the bottom of the sixth inning against Centralia in the championship game July 3 at Failor Field in Aberdeen, but managed to tie the contest up before Nick Westling’s clutch hit drove in Dylan Schoch with the winning run.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids to coach,” manager Mike Prall said. “They played with everything they had and never gave up. They make me proud to be their coach.”
Montesano showed offensive punch from the first game of the tournament against Dupont during which Monte pulled away for a 28-1 win. Montesano’s second game was much closer against Centralia. Monte needed a walk-off home run from Isaiah Pierce to win, 9-8. After beating Chehalis 8-4, Montesano was ready for another showdown against Centralia.
“The reason these kids were so successful is they play well and they play as a team,” coach Pat Anderson said. “They don’t give up and they play hard every play. We play well together and the kids have a lot of heart.”
In addition to the home run by Pierce, Montesano had two round trippers from Jack Anderson and one home run by 9-year-old Jayden McElravey.
Anderson cited Trace Ridgeway, Christian Prall, Malachi Backholm, Isaiah Pierce and Isaac Pierce for great pitching performances throughout the tournament.
Montesano only returned three members of last year’s district championship team, but the team has created a special bond in the time playing together. Montesano will now advance to the state tournament, starting July 12 in Richland, and Anderson said the group may be in for a special run.
“The Centralia coach said our team acts as if we’ve played together for years and we feel the same way,” Anderson said. “They are solid all the way through. There is not a weak link in the bunch, so we feel really fortunate. I don’t think we could be any more proud of coaching these kids. We love working with them.