TUMWATER — Larch Mountain scored four runs in the first inning and never looked back, earning a 12-1 win in five innings over Chehalis to win the 10-year-old District 3 Little League baseball tournament championship here on Thursday.
Larch Mountain punched a ticket to the state tournament in Aberdeen with the victory.
“It’s fantastic. These boys have worked really hard all year, we started early in January and now it’s all paying off,” Larch Mountain coach Phil Sayamnet said. “The boys have worked hard for a long time, played a lot of games, a lot of practices and rolled right through this tournament. They played fantastic.”
The Tenino-Rochester squad led 6-0 after two frames, then poured it on in the fifth with five runs to put the game away and end the game in five innings.
“Chehalis, to their credit, they hung around pretty well,” Sayamnet said. “I’d like to congratulate them on a good game too. They are the toughest opponent so far.”
Carson Rotter and Chris Butcher each had three hits and scored three runs for Larch Mountain. Austin Gonia had three hits, including a triple and a run. Ruger Culp reached base all four times with two hits and two walks and scored a run, and Michael Vassar had two hits and scored two runs.
Will Feltus pitched all six innings for Larch Mountain, striking out six batters and allowing just one run and one hit.
Deacon Meller scored the lone run for Chehalis. Isaiah Nachatilo got the start on the mound for Chehalis and was relieved by Cal Bullock in the fourth inning.
Sayamnet is from Aberdeen and played Little League in Grays Harbor, and he is looking forward to the homecoming.
“It’s going to be a pretty cool homecoming to take this group of boys down there,” Sayamnet said. “I’ll get to see my parents and maybe stay the night there if I need to, cheap hotel.”
Note: Larch Mountain reached the finals by beating Aberdeen, 13-1, on Sunday and Montesano, 14-0, on Tuesday.
Chehalis lost to Capitol, 19-12, on Saturday to open district play, but then rattled off three straight wins — over Centralia (21-10), Capitol (11-6) and Montesano (11-1) — to reach the finals.