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Marysville goes 2-2 at state
Hunter Leiren slides home to keep the game close against Richmond.
MARYSVILLE — Marysville senior little league fell short in the state championships going 2-2, but Marysville head coach Pete Muñoz said they’ll be back next year better than ever.
“They want to get back into it — they don’t want to wait till next season,” Muñoz said.
He expects the seniors to come back “bigger, faster and stronger” as they transition into Big League.
“I think we became more of a family than a team,” Muñoz said.
Next season Muñoz will coach the big league team, which will largely be the same group of kids.
“That’s what’s going to make us so much stronger,” Muñoz said. “We’re all put together.”
After winning its first-ever district title, the seniors were reintroduced to the loser-out bracket in the championships.
On July 12, Marysville lost its first game to Richmond 3-2, sending them to the elimination games. The team also was sent to the loser’s bracket at district before winning it all.
Again, Marysville did rebound, dominating its next two opponents, South Kitsap 13-0 and North Whidbey 13-5, later in the week before facing Richmond again on July 15.
“We’ve definitely had to earn our way, and we have,” Muñoz said.
The second game with Richmond was as competitive as the first, but the pressure of staying in the tournament affected Marysville’s game, Muñoz said.
In the first inning, Marysville took an early 1-0 lead, but Richmond responded with three runs that inning.
Marysville tied it in the third with pitcher JT Kirkland hitting for two RBI.
Kirkland also proved to be a reliant pitcher while backed by Marysville’s strong fielding as they held Richmond down in the next two innings
In the fourth inning, Marysville’s Hunter Leiren used his speed to get on base and steal bases.
His effort paid off as he was brought home on a big hit from Austin Epstein.
Epstein advanced to third by a botched catch by Richmond and was eventually brought home on a hit from Hunter Whitney.
Marysville was ahead 5-3 going into the fifth inning, but Richmond tied it and led 6-5 at the bottom of the fifth.
Marysville’s defense neutralized Richmond’s offense but wasn’t able to convert any more runs in the last two innings.
“It’s been a great ride. It’s been bumpy, but all good things come to an end,” Muñoz said.