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Sammamish pulls the rare Little League double

Eastlake's 11 and 12-year-old All-Star baseball team poses with state championship banner.(Photo courtesy Eastlake Little League)
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Only two dozen Majors Little League baseball and softball players are all that's left playing ball from Washington this year, and all of them are from the Sammamish area.

Eastlake Little League has pulled the rare double, winning the Majors state championship in both baseball and softball in the same season.

This accomplishment is so rare, no one in the state can remember it ever happening before.

Eastlake's 11 and 12-year-old All-Star girls have won 11 in a row, and are two wins away from playing in the World Series. The 11 and 12-year-old All-Star boys just grinded through the loser's bracket to win the state title and are heading to San Bernardino, California, to join the girls in the regional finals.

"Every once in awhile a group comes along that just gels and plays well together and they read each other's minds," said Eastlake Little League President Dan Bickford. "We're just so proud of them. It's a lot of fun."

For these kids, it's the culmination of a lot of hard work. For the parents, it's the reward for sitting in the rain all spring and sacrificing all their time and money for their kids.

Matt Fitzgibbons is one of the baseball coaches. His son Nate is on the team. So who is more excited?

"I've literally had a half-dozen people ask me that exact question," Coach Fitzgibbons said. "I can't answer the question. I think it's me because I realize how special this experience is."

But this success comes with a price, (though I would gladly pay for the same experience.) It's an open-ended schedule of time off from work that can change at a moment's notice and cost a fortune.

Every parent, when signing their child up for post-season play, realizes there's a possibility the team could make a run, if their son or daughter makes the team. But no one really expects to go all the way.

"It doesn't really hit you, that 'yeah, we could win this thing,' and then what happens," said Coach Fitzgibbons. "At the 10U and 11U level, you win state, and it's like 'OK, you get a trophy and a flag and a slap on the butt and off you go for the summer.' We had this, 'Oh my God' moment like, 'We're going to California.' Now, it's a reality."

These parents have gone from 10 days on the road around the state to another 10 days on the road in San Bernardino. If they keep winning, it's another two weeks.

Try getting that kind of time off from your employer on a moment's notice and finding the extra cash.

And I ran some numbers. A conservative price-tag for this unplanned, last minute trip to California for a family of three: more than $3,000. Though, Little League picks up the cost for players and coaches.

About the Author

Chris Sullivan is a traffic reporter for KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. He cares deeply about the amount of time you spend sitting in Seattle traffic.


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