North Bothell Little League powered through with yet another elimination-game victory on Wednesday.
By delivering five runs in the second inning and four runs in the third inning, the locals notched a 9-2 win over Montana in the Northwest Regional at Al Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino, California. They upped their record to 3-1 in the tourney and will play in the semifinals at noon on Friday on ESPN against either Idaho or Oregon.
“The boys’ desire to win this tournament is what motivates them. They want to be champions and move on. We tell them they have an extraordinary opportunity and are capable of making it happen if they continue to play hard, maintain focus on game/situation at hand, and have fun,” said manager Danny Keim.
Against Billings Heights National Little League of Montana, North Bothell kicked things off by nailing five consecutive singles in the second. Koleman Johnson and Zach Daniel had RBI singles and Jack Smith knocked a two-RBI single in the 11-batter inning.
“When we get on our offensive rallies and we score a lot of runs in one inning, we all get really excited for each other and for ourselves. It’s really fun to all be able to participate and do well together,” Smith said.
North Bothell outhit Montana, 12-2, and had three hits from Cayden Christopherson (two singles and a double), two singles each from Blake Skinner and Daniel and singles from Smith, Ethan Wiley, Cole McCourt, Johnson and Jayden Salman. Smith and Daniel had two RBIs each and Christopherson, Johnson, Kody Moyer and Salman added RBIs.
Skinner has eight hits in the tournament and noted about his batting prowess: “I’m just seeing the ball real well. Sometimes I’m a little nervous, but not usually — just trying to get on base,” he said.
The slugger added that the players are all getting along well and are believing in themselves and not giving up.
Dominic Wilson, Skinner, Jacob Zbiegien and Christopherson pitched solid innings.
Wilson noted that when the players arrived on the regional scene, they weren’t nervous in front of the cameras and just started playing solid ball.
“It’s been a really fun experience playing on these fields in San Bernardino, and it’s nice playing all these new teams from different states,” he said.
On North Bothell’s day off on Thursday, the players hit the pool to beat the 100-degree weather and might see a movie later after watching the semifinal game between Idaho and Oregon. A light practice in the evening is on the docket as well.
“They’re having a great time, hanging out and just enjoying the whole experience of playing and meeting kids on the other teams,” said manager Keim, adding that the players are getting into pin trading with the other squads.
The championship game will take place at noon on Saturday on ESPN, and the winner advances to the Little League Baseball World Series.