Sports

Chinook Little League fastpitch sweeps into state

Three Chinook fastpitch teams are off to state, the last to make it are Payton Agnew, Madison Billingsley, Morgan Blake, Kysa Bursch, Alicia Cassell, Becky Forza, Sydney Gray, Savanna Gusman, Brittany Harder, Meagan Johnson, Lilli Peterson, Kendra Ulrich, and Tayler VanDyke.  The team is managed by Paul Agnew and coached by Greg Ulrich and Monica Gray.  - Photos courtesy Chinook LL
Three Chinook fastpitch teams are off to state, the last to make it are Payton Agnew, Madison Billingsley, Morgan Blake, Kysa Bursch, Alicia Cassell, Becky Forza, Sydney Gray, Savanna Gusman, Brittany Harder, Meagan Johnson, Lilli Peterson, Kendra Ulrich, and Tayler VanDyke. The team is managed by Paul Agnew and coached by Greg Ulrich and Monica Gray.
— image credit: Photos courtesy Chinook LL

When the Chinook Little League started its fastpitch program two years ago, its organizers weren’t predicting success right out the gate. Now, they’re busting with pride.

All three of Chinook’s fastpitch teams – 9 to 10 year olds, Majors and Juniors – went undefeated and swept their respective District 10 tournaments.

League leaders are bandying around phrases like “unprecedented” and “amazing.”

Washington District 10 Little League is comprised of 11 charters throughout the south King and Pierce county areas.

Tara Crimmins, who manages the Juniors and also serves as the Chinook Little League vice president of softball, said she’s not sure a league has swept the tournament and if they have it’s rare.

Heather Ulrich, team mom and wife of the Chinook Little League Majors, the 11- and 12-year-old team that sewed up the final District 10 crown for Chinook June 30, said their team fought hard to make the tournament, hoping to become part of history.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “We think it’s a District 10 record and it may be a Little League record.”

This Majors came up shy of making the state tournament last year. This season, the girls left no doubt topping Soundview 12-10, coming from behind to beat Bonney Lake and then defeating Bonney Lake a second time for the title, 7-1.

It took a team effort, but the team got outstanding pitching from Sydney Gray and Payton Agnew in partnership with catcher Beccky Forza.

In its second game, Madison Billingsley’s triple knocked in three runs to seal the 9-6 win over Bonney Lake. And the crown was clinched in the third game thanks to key snags by Kendra Ulrich, who caught a foul ball at first and second baseman Tayler VanDyke, who scooped up a short right field ball for another out. Third baseman Meagan Johnson and shortstop Alicia Cassell’s work in the infield was also noteworthy.

The 9 and 10 year olds and 13 to 14 year olds won their titles earlier. All three teams head to their respective state tournaments.

The 9 and 10-year-olds are scheduled to start tournament play at 9 a.m. Sunday in Spokane. An opponent was not available at press time. The 11- and 12-year-olds will be playing a District 2 team at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at LaCenter Community Park in LaCenter, Wash., while the Juniors will be playing a District 6 team at noon in Kirkland at Everest Park.

The community support has been phenomenal, Chinook leaders said.

“We had over 100 people at our game from Enumclaw,” Ulrich said. “Our stands were full, our baseline was full. It was an amazing show of support.”

She said the community also turned out to support a fundraising carwash to help families defray costs to attend the state tournaments. They raised more than $1,300.

The girls aren’t the only team seeing postseason play.

Led by manager Jeff Schweter and coaches Jeff Martin and Tracy Gesterling, Chinook’s Little League Baseball All-Star team is in the midst of the District 10 tournament. Competition began Saturday and closes up Sunday.

On the roster are: Chris Butler, Bailey Deters, Joe Ford, Collin Gesterling, Tyler Harris, Kyle Johnston, Noah Martin, Bryce Podolak, Jimmy Schweter, Trevor Stergion, Wyley Stewart, Colton Swanson and Mitchell Webster.

To comment on this story, view it online at www.courierherald.com. Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierherald.com or 360-802-8206.

GOES WITH JUMP

11 and 12 year olds

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