Sammamish honors boys and girls Little Leaguers
September 6, 2013
By Ari Cetron
New: Sept. 6, 2:20 p.m.
When they were in Pennsylvania battling for every run, the boys on the Eastlake Little League baseball team were focused on the game. They hadn’t realized that people across Sammamish, and indeed across the state, were watching every game, every hit, and finally, that last out.
“We didn’t really think about it until we got home,” said Will Armbruester. “Now, even at Safeway, people are stopping you and saying ‘good job.’”
A few dozen family members, community members and well-wishers, along with the Eastlake High School band and cheerleaders, gathered Sept. 3 at the Sammamish Commons to congratulate the boys, who reached the Little League World Series, as well as the girls who won a state title and reached the Little League softball regional championships.
After the festivities, both teams were invited to the City Council meeting, where the council presented them with certificates and trophies commemorating their efforts.
“I think you guys are all terrific – guys in a non-gender specific sense,” said Mayor Tom Odell during the congratulatory festivities before the meeting.
“You’ve made incredible memories for all the adults who lived vicariously through you,” said softball coach Steve Pollis.
The boys won the state and regional titles before heading to the Little League World Series. They finished third in the nation after a heartbreaking extra-inning loss to Westport, Conn.
For some of the boys, the biggest surprise of the experience was how far they went.
“We thought we would get stopped in districts,” said Bryce Delay.
But they breezed through the district tournament, and, at state, they earned the nickname “The Comeback Kids” after beating Federal Way 13-3, rallying from a 3-0 deficit.
“It was awesome,” Delay said. “Pretty much the fifth inning was our comeback inning.”
Once at the World Series in Pennsylvania, the team played well. They lost to Connecticut, but the tournament was a double-elimination format. They battled back to face Connecticut again, and lost a second time.
Even after that second loss, the boys said they were proud of their accomplishments.
“We knew that we had done what no other Eastlake team had done,” Delay said.
The adults involved seemed impressed by the experience.
Justin Bowers, whose son Cameron was on the team, said one of the biggest shocks for him was when they went from games with a couple dozen people watching to games with 25,000 in attendance.
“I couldn’t imagine being a 13-year-old and doing that,” he said.