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Stilly Valley All-Stars win championship | SLIDESHOW
ARLINGTON — Stilly Valley Little League managed to clinch another major victory this season as the SVLL Junior All-Stars beat the Marysville Little League Junior All-Stars during the District 1 championship game on July 9, and beat the Bellevue Thunderbirds 12-4 in the state All-Star Tournament quarterfinals in Port Orchard on July 15.
“It was a really good game, we won 12-4,” said Bob Bergley, a Stilly Valley coach. “Our starting pitcher was Blake Hathaway and he pitched a great game all the way into the seventh inning. He didn’t give up any earned runs.”
Offense was another focus for Stilly Valley on Sunday and it showed. “We put the bat on the ball. Hitting is definitely one of our strengths. We have 12 kids who can really hit,” said Bergley. “But the main thing was our pitching. Blake did an amazing job.”
Being at the state tournament level was a little bit stressful for the players, but they were able to reign it in and come out with a victory. “Everybody was a little nervous and had butterflies, but once the game got in motion, we started playing like we knew we could,” said Bergley.
The amount of support from the stands may have also aided in keeping up the team’s morale. “It was amazing how many people came over and made the trip to Port Orchard,” said Bergley. “We had three times the amount of support as our opponent. We’ve got really great fans.”
Back in Arlington on July 9, the district championship stayed consistently in Stilly Valley’s favor until the bottom of the seventh inning, when Marysville was able to rally a comeback and nearly tie the game.
“It was a tough game,” said Manager Wes Sheward of the July 9 game against Marysville. “Marysville came to win but the Stilly kids battled hard. We are undefeated in this tournament. Alec Ecker was our starting pitcher and he pitched great,” said Sheward, who has been coaching All-Stars for eight years. “Avery Kindred did really well and there was a lot of hustle from Austin Peters and Mason Bergley. Really everyone did a great job.”
This year marks the fourth in a row for Stilly Valley Junior All-Stars winning the District 1 Championship. With skilled pitching and consistent hitting, the team was able to take a 13-10 victory over Marysville and qualify for the state tournament in Port Orchard.
“I was very proud of how they played through adversity,” said Bergley.
The team heads now for a game on July 19. Following that game, Stilly Valley Junior All-Stars need only take victories in four more games before becoming state champions and heading to the regional competition, set to take place in San Bernadino, Calif.
“I’m just really proud of the boys,” said Bergley. “They work really hard and they deserve to be at the state level. Right now we are taking it one game at a time.”