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Stilly Valley majors win state tourney
\WALLA WALLA "Two-out rally" is a universal cheer among the Little League set, but it proved to be the decisive attitude behind the Stilly Valley majors' state championship win.
After Sammamish allowed Stilly Valley its smallest margin of victory 4-1 on their run through the state bracket, the teams seemed destined for a rematch in the July 18 championship game. Sammamish had only gotten better in their run through the loser's bracket and showed they weren't intimidated by answering Stilly Valley's first inning run with two of their own.
Stilly Valley had opportunities to tie it up earlier but the Sammamish defense executed well, holding their 2-1 lead into the third. Then, with two outs, catcher Amy Revelle got a hit and the Stilly Valley offense got going. Katelyn McDonald and Bailey Hoag loaded the bases and shortstop Syvannah Cram got the game-tying RBI.
The game remained tied into the fourth thanks to big fly catches from Cram and center fielder Katelynn Kazen and the girls added to their tally in the fourth as pitcher Hayley Fields hit a double into a hole behind the Sammamish shortstop to kick off another two-out rally. Second baseman Savannah Diemer got on base right after and both girls scored on the pass ball to take the lead.
Sammamish succeeded in putting runners on base in each of the remaining innings and, playing as guest, Stilly Valley seemed under pressure to add to their 4-2 lead to wrap up the state title in one game instead of two.
The girls got that chance in the top of the sixth. Kaylyn Myers walked and Kayla Mashburn laid down a nice bunt to advance her teammate. A bunt by Kazen turned into a base hit and an RBI by Fields put the game essentially out reach by what would become the final tally, 5-2.
Although Sammamish improved from their state opener against Stilly Valley, coach Brian Fields said his team continued to improve every day in practice as well. The girls kept their edge despite a three-day break in action they earned by marching through the winners bracket to the championship game.
"We thought, kid for kid, we had a better team than they did," Fields said of his confidence in the 11- and 12-year-old girls he coaches.
With the win, the girls were named Team Washington and will travel to Vancouver, Wash., the last week in July to compete in pool play leading up to the regional bracket that feeds the Little League World Series.
For opportunities to help sponsor Stilly Valley's regional run, visit the league's website at www.eteamz.com/stillyvalleylittleleague.