District champs x2

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Don't make any more summer vacation plans quite yet, parents.

Two Sequim Little League softball all-star teams are headed to the Washington state playoffs after winning district titles at the District II tourney in Sequim last week.

Sequim's 10-11 all-stars captured their division crown Saturday evening with a nail-biting, 7-5 win against Bainbridge's all-stars.

Sequim's juniors (13- and 14-year-olds) joined their younger counterparts after cruising to a 13-0 win against a combined North Kitsap-Bainbridge in their championship game Sunday afternoon.

Both teams begin state tourney play this week (see box).

For the first time, Sequim hosted the District II Little League tourney, as league helpers completed James Standard Park's second softball field literally the morning of the first playoff game (the tourney requires at least two fields to host the districts).

"It was a lot of work but well worth it," Sequim Little League president Shawna Rigg said. "I'm so proud of our girls."

Juniors crush competition
With hot bats and an ace pitcher, Sequim's juniors were rarely tested in their three-game tourney last week.

The juniors opened with a 10-0 win against North Kitsap/Bainbridge on July 8, then walloped Key Peninsula 30-1 on July 9.

That set up a rematch with North Kitsap/Bainbridge on Sunday. Sequim pitcher Makayla Bentz dominated Sequim's foes while her defense locked up the team's second shutout of the tourney.
Now, it's on to state.

"We still haven't played our best ball," Sequim manager Dave Bentz said. "We're deep, one through nine. We run the bases well, we hit well, we pitch the ball well."

Bentz said he expects the team - a squad featuring several players from the summer TNT travel fastpitch team - to do quite well at state, possibly taking the title.

"The only team that's going to beat this team," Bentz said, "is themselves. I don't think anyone can beat them."

He said players, parents, coaches and others all had a part in making this a special championship - that, and winning a district title on the team's "home" field.

10s, 11s sweep into state
Going into Saturday's championship game against Bainbridge, Sequim's 9- and 10-year-old softball all-stars looked to be the odds-on favorite to take the district crown.

After all, the team already had handily beaten Gig Harbor, and Gig Harbor handily beat Bainbridge in the opening round.

But after clobbering Gig Harbor 28-13 in the consolation final, Bainbridge proved to be a tough match-up in the championship game.

Sequim jumped to leads of 3-1 and 6-2 but saw Bainbridge respond each time. The Islanders had a rally going in the sixth inning before pitcher Mackenzie Bentz secured the final out.

"I knew it'd be a tough game," Sequim manager Donny Sparks said. "They played as a team."
Bentz tossed a no-hitter in her first game and a two-hitter in the championship.

Girls' majors team falls in consolations
Sequim's majors (11 and 12-year-olds) rebounded nicely from an opening-round loss to Bainbridge Island on July 5 with a 13-6 win against the North Kitsap Nationals the next day.

But fate didn't have a full three-division Sequim softball sweep in mind when the team dropped a 9-8 decision on July 7 to North Kitsap American.

Boys 10s, 11s fall in heartbreaker
Battling in an 11-team district tourney in Belfair, Sequim's 10- and 11-year-old baseball all-stars split their first two games before being ousted by South Kitsap West on July 5.

After an opening-round, 8-2 loss to Gig Harbor, Sequim rebounded with a thrilling, 9-8 victory in nine innings against Key Peninsula in  a game that was suspended on July 2 and finished on July 5.

But later that day South Kitsap West bounced the Sequim squad, 6-3.

Boys majors playing for state
Sequim's 11- and 12-year-old baseball all-stars dropped their opening district game 7-0 to Bainbridge in Gig Harbor on July 11.

The team was slated to South Kitsap South on July 12 - results of the game were unavailable at press time.

Little League state playoffs
_ Sequim's juniors squad plays the District VII champion (a Seattle area team) at 4 p.m. Thursday, July 17, in Vancouver, Wash.

_ Sequim's 10/11 softball team opens the state tourney at noon Thursday, July 17, in Yacolt against Everett, the District I champion.

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