Sports

Bainbridge Island Little League All-Stars near elimination

Tino Peleti swings at a pitch during the district tournament earlier in July. He homered in a state semifinal game versus Mill Creek Wednesday. Bainbridge plays at 11 a.m. Saturday. - Jesse Beals/File Photo
Tino Peleti swings at a pitch during the district tournament earlier in July. He homered in a state semifinal game versus Mill Creek Wednesday. Bainbridge plays at 11 a.m. Saturday.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/File Photo

Bainbridge plays in a loser-out game Saturday.

The Bainbridge Island Little League All-Stars are still in the hunt for a state title, but must come up big in a loser-out game to get that chance.

On Tuesday afternoon, the All-Stars, fresh off two big state tournament wins, faced the District 9 champions from Richland. After a scoreless first inning, the resilient islanders loaded the bases with two outs. A Brett Green walk scored Campbell Queen, who singled. Ben Kussie was hit by a pitch to score Ben Freedman, and then Pierre LeDorze hit the second pitch into the ozone for a grand slam, scoring Spencer Hogger, Green and Kussie.

Tino Peleti then greeted a new Richland pitcher with a single and scored on Liam Griewe’s double. The seven run outburst was only the beginning of a long day for five Richland pitchers.

Bainbridge busted loose in the third inning as a Kussie single knocked in Drew Dierickx and Jack Post. In the fourth and final frame, Jake Hawken hit a one-handed line drive over the left field fence on a tough two-strike curve ball, and Bainbridge poured in the runs.

Dierickx walked, Post hit an RBI single, and Dierickx had a crowd-thrilling steal of home. Green singled to score Post, and Kussie hit a double to score Green. Griewe finished the scoring by driving in LeDorze with his second hit of the day.

Kussie picked up his second win of the tournament by pitching a dominant four innings. He was aided by outstanding defense by Post, Lincoln Beal and Griewe.

Wednesday saw the equivalent of a heavyweight title fight as unbeaten Bainbridge met tournament host Mill Creek. A large home crowd witnessed Little League baseball at its best.

Mill Creek got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first with a couple of hits and an error.

Peleti led off the top of the second by belting the first pitch he saw over the center field fence for his third homer of the tournament. Bainbridge put more runners on but could not score against the starter for Mill Creek.

Bainbridge kept pecking away in the top of the third as Hogger led off with a double and scored on a LeDorze base hit. Peleti followed with a walk, and Griewe singled to load the bases with two out, but the island boys could not score any more.

Mill Creek threatened again in the bottom of the second but a great stop at third base by Ben Kussie ended their rally.

Peleti fanned two of the next three hitters in the bottom of the third to put Mill Creek down in order. Queen lead off the top of the fourth with a double to left and scored on Post’s base hit to center field. Mill Creek escaped further trouble by turning a slick 4-6-3 double-play.

The Mill Creek leadoff hitter poked a game tying home run in the bottom of the fifth, followed by Creek scratching out another run on a walk, fielder’s choice and base hit to take a 4-3 lead into the top of the sixth.

Facing a hard throwing reliever, Hawken singled but stayed at first as Mill Creek sealed the win.

Peleti took the loss as he went 4 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on three hits. He walked four and struck out four.

Joakim Soderqvist got the win for Mill Creek as he gave up no runs in two innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out four.

Bainbridge Island will face either Larch Mountain or Richmond at 11 a.m. Saturday. The winner of that game will face Mill Creek and must win two games on Sunday in the double-elimination format.

The state tournament champion will represent Washington state in the Northwest Regional Little League Championship tournament in San Bernadino, Calif. on August 1st.

Fans who can’t make the game can visit littleleaguewa.org and follow the links to view an online broadcast of the game.

–With information supplied by BILL’s Steve Queen

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