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10U Moses Lake wins state tournament

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | July 11, 2022 7:50 AM

ELLENSBURG – The 10U Moses Lake baseball team won the 10U Cal Ripken 2022 North Washington State Tournament on Saturday, sweeping the competition en route to bringing home the hardware.

With the team already having qualified for the 2022 World Series they will not advance to regional play, as a team in this scenario typically would.

“(We’re) state champions on the 10U side, so it's always fun to get hardware,” Moses Lake 10U Head Coach Steve Keller said. “And it was really awesome to see the boys play together.”

The games began on Thursday, with Moses Lake recording a 26-0 win over Ephrata and a 10-0 win over the fellow 10U Moses Lake team on the tournament’s opening day. With a 7-0 win over North Olympic and a 14-2 win over Eastmont on Friday, Moses Lake booked their ticket into the semifinals on Saturday.

Since Keller’s team had already qualified for the World Series, another 10U Moses Lake all-star team was put together to give another team from Moses Lake the chance to win and advance.

“It's awesome,” Keller said of what it was like to play against the fellow Moses Lake team. “It just means that we are representing 26-27 players from Moses Lake, and getting a chance to get a taste of that all-star and state competition baseball. And it's just continuing to make the youth baseball around here better.”

In the semi-finals against Cashmere, Moses Lake brought in another win in a pitcher’s duel. With a 1-0 victory, Moses Lake was headed to the state championship game.

“We won 1-0 against Cashmere in the semifinal game,” Keller said, “and just a great pitcher’s duel and clean defense. The at-bats were tough, because the other pitcher there for Cashmere was outstanding.”

Pitcher Hesston Schwab was on the mound for five innings in the state semi-finals, only allowing two hits.

“To win a 1-0 game, you know, when you kind of rolled through the first four, that was pretty big (for our team),” Keller said.

Moses Lake was faced with a rematch in the state championship game, battling North Olympic for the title of state champions. Graham Passey took to the mound for the game, with reliever Jaxon Keller stepping in for the last two pitches due to pitch count. Once the dust was settled at Rotary Park in Ellensburg, Moses Lake had defeated North Olympic for the championship.

“It was really cool,” Keller said of the environment at Rotary Park on Saturday. “You know, every pitch was important. The stands were packed on both sides, and so that was a lot of fun. Great environment.”

Keller credited Passey for keeping North Olympic “at bay,” as well as the bats of the team and the crowd’s energy for the win.

“(We had) hits all over the place,” Keller said. “Michael Martinez had a couple of hits. Just the at-bats and the energy of the park - it was really cool.”

Without the need for regional competition, Keller said that the team will be looking to practice against other local teams in the meantime before the World Series next month.

“Just trying to replicate the energy, replicate the game, game reps, stay together, play and practice with a purpose,” Keller said of what the team will be focusing on.

With a 15-3 record through the summer so far, 10U Moses Lake will be wrapping up its pre-World Series tournament trail with a trip to Kennewick for a tournament the weekend of July 23.

Ian Bivona may be reached at ibivona@columbiabasinherald.com.

photo

Courtesy photo AJ Escamilla

Moses Lake swept through the 10U North Washington State Tournament over the weekend, posting a plus-64 run differential in six games.

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