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All-Stars take first championship in 18 years
MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Little League All-Star 10U team won the district tournament on July 9, after shutting out Pacific, 3-0.
“The first game we played was against Pacific, which is always a huge favorite to win the tournament,” said manager Ernie Brown. “We beat them 9-3. Malakhi Knight pitched that game and did a great job. The next day, June 29, we had to play South Snohomish and Aidan Van Rensum, he threw 61 pitches and threw a shutout. We beat them 10-0. South Snohomish is another pretty competitive team, so that was really impressive.”
Another tough opponent was Mill Creek, a team that regularly produces district champions.
“We played Mill Creek on July 3. They have always been one of the best all-star teams, and we beat them 11-5. Malakhi pitched that game, too, and hit a 3-run home run. Sean Brown had two big base hits to get rallies going. In that game, Jack Johnson had a huge two-out hit in the fifth inning and so did Josiah ‘Sunshine’ Coellmer. Actually, with the bases loaded and two outs, Van Rensum, Jack Johnson, Sunshine, all had hits, started by a one-out single by Sean ‘Small Fry’ Brown.”
It was a huge victory for the team, which had never defeated Mill Creek. It was 6-5 in the bottom of the fifth, before Marysville scored another five runs.
“It gets more exciting after that,” said Brown. “We played Stilly Valley, which is Arlington, and an underlying story there is that half the kids play on the select team together, so they knew each other very well. It was a little intense with the kids. They had a great time though. That was a 6-5 game. We had another great pitching performance by Aidan Van Rensum, and Jack Johnson got the final six outs.”
After that victory, the resulting championship game made a big difference for not only the All-Star team, but Marysville Little League as a whole.
“Then it becomes historic,” said Brown. “I only say that because it’s been 18 years since a Marysville Little League All-Star team won a district championship.”
Once again, the team faced Pacific, who had won the loser’s bracket while Marysville had won the winner’s bracket.
“We had Malakhi pitching and he got help on defense with a couple of great plays from Josh Elgin,” said Brown. “We had a great play by Kaden Wolfson in center field on a blooper — he came in and caught it. We ended up having Malakhi pitch through five and Jack Johnson finishing the game. We played collectively a no-hitter against Pacific.”
Leo Carlos, director of Marysville Little League, worked to prevent Little League from separating Marysville into two leagues for the All-Star season, and that may have helped this season’s success.
The 11U team took second place in the district tournament as well.
“We would never have done what we’ve done if there were two teams,” said manager Mark Southard. “We were able to compete. I didn’t expect them to get as far as they did. I knew we would do well, but I didn’t expect us to be in the championship game.”
The Majors All-Star team finished the tournament with one win and two losses.
“We didn’t end up reaching the goals we had set for ourselves but we were certainly more competitive than in years past, when Marysville Little League was divided into two All-Star teams. The two teams that beat us played each other for the tournament championship,” said manager Robb Lamoureux. “It was an honor to have been asked to coach the team and I see a very bright future for Marysville baseball with the talent these kids have.”
Brown agrees with Southard and Lamoureux that keeping Marysville as one league helped the team make it as far as they did.
“That’s another huge thing,” he said. “Leo fought and fought and fought. Up until the day before the tournament, we weren’t technically in this tournament and they weren’t going to let us play. He fought. He was a big advocate for going from two leagues to one league and that’s what really has helped us.”
The boys went on to compete against Richland Nationals in the first state tournament game, topping them 14-4, with Kody Galde hitting his first-ever home run.
“We had so many people from Marysville at our district game,” said Brown. “We had more than 100 people there. My first thought was, ‘We did this,’ and thanks to Leo for fighting for us. The kids were happy and excited, but they weren’t overexcited. It was jubilation. It was the culmination of the last three summers and realizing just how much work they put in.”