SK Western survives opening weekend

Ralph Riddle knew this year’s 10- to 11-year-old District 2 State Little League Tournament would be a tough one.

Just not this tough.

Riddle’s South Kitsap Eastern All-Stars ran into a couple of tough pitchers last weekend at the Virgil Stacy Memorial Complex in Olalla and were sent packing just three games into the double-elimination tournament.

Even worse, it came at the hands of the South Kitsap Western All-Stars, 5-1.

“I don’t want to lose to anyone,” Riddle said after his team’s loss Monday afternoon. “But I especially don’t want to lose to one of our own teams.”

Western’s win propels it into a 3:30 p.m. game Saturday in Olalla against the loser of Friday night’s Bainbridge National-Gig Harbor American game.

“I thought everyone did a great job (Monday),” Western coach Bill Stoner said. “Everyone contributed and we really came together as a team. I hope that we’re gelling at the right time.”

All the teams playing in the tournament have been together for just over two weeks, but some played as many as three times last weekend, like both Eastern and Western did.

Stoner said he can see his team getting better with each game.

“I’m really impressed with the way they are playing together,” he said. “They are such a great bunch of kids. We really don’t have enough spots for all of them.”

Josh Johnston got the job done on both sides Monday, pitching a complete-game, one-hitter while striking out 12.

Johnston also hit a home run, as did Eric Carlson.

“(Johnston) is a tough kid — he kept mowing us down,” Riddle said. “I didn’t think it was possible to shut down our offense, especially the way the kids hit the ball in practice. But I have to tip my cap to them. They got it done.”

Eastern got its lone run in the bottom of the sixth inning on a RBI single by Brenner Meek.

Both Western and Eastern had dropped into the loser’s bracket after their first game but staved off elimination with comfortable wins Sunday.

Western opened the tournament by losing to Bainbridge National 5-3 in extra innings but rebounded with a 7-2 win over North Mason as Robbie Baker tossed a complete game and Alex Muyskens keyed the offense.

Eastern lost a heart-breaker Saturday in its opener, as North Kitsap American scored three runs in the final inning to take a 4-1 win.

On Sunday, Eastern had no problem in pounding Gig Harbor National 11-1.

South Kitsap Southern also fell into the loser’s bracket immediately after losing to Bainbridge National 5-1.

The team regrouped and beat Sequim 9-0 Sunday night and played late Monday against Bainbridge American.

•Â Three SK teams alive in 9-10 age group: Three of the four South Kitsap teams playing the 9- to 10-year-old group survived the weekend play and are still alive for the District 2 title.

SK Southern, SK Western and SK Eastern No. 1 all played games late Monday, trying to advance to the next round. SK Eastern No. 2 was eliminated from play with a pair of loses over the weekend, 11-0 to SK Southern and 10-0 to Bainbridge American.

SK Southern played Gig Harbor National Monday with the winner advancing to meet either North Kitsap American or Bainbridge National at 5 p.m. Friday.

Also on Monday, SK Eastern No. 1 went up against Gig Harbor American while SK Western took on Port Townsend with the winners meeting at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

SK Eastern No. 1 won its first game 10-0 over Key Peninsula as Jake York pitched a one-hitter. SK Western moved into the second round with a 24-1 drubbing of West Central.

Losers of all four games Monday will play either Wednesday or Thursday in loser out games.

All games in this bracket are being played at Art Mikelsen Field in Port Orchard.

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