Seattle’s Little League team 1 win away from US Championship appearance
Aug 22, 2023, 11:00 AM | Updated: 4:13 pm
The Northeast Seattle Little League team — the first Seattle team ever to represent the Northwest Region in the Little League World Series — won again in the Little League World Series Monday, pushing them to just two more consecutive wins away from advancing to the world championship.
Seattle’s team defeated Nolensville, Tennessee 6-2 Monday after dominating Maine in a mercy rule-shortened game 10-0. Mercy rules in the Little League World Series calls for the losing team to concede after falling behind by 10 or more runs after four innings, or 15 or more after three innings.
“The summer of baseball in Seattle. The All-Star Game, the derby, the draft, now the Mariners and how about the Little League team?” ESPN’s Karl Ravech proclaimed during the network’s broadcast.
More on baseball in Seattle: Rick Rizzs calls MLB All-Star Week ‘Disneyland for baseball fans’
— Little League (@LittleLeague) August 21, 2023
“Our whole team had practiced really hard for this game. I credit most of that to our coaches because they’re really good at scouting these different teams,” Northeast Seattle shortstop and pitcher Larson Eng said on ESPN. “They’ll stay up watching full games of the players and teams we’re going to play against. I really credit them for giving me a very good scouting report.”
“We’re really good at learning and making changes to our game plan based on that,” Eng added. “They were really looking for that off speed pitch, so I knew that if I just brought my fastball and had really good accuracy, I could go out there and put up pretty good pitching line.”
In the regional tournament, Northeast Seattle went up against the state champions from Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. The Seattle club defeated Alaska twice by a combined score of 21-1 after beating Oregon 9-0 to clinch the bracket. Northeast Seattle won every game in the regional tournament by mercy rule.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) August 17, 2023
The Little League World Series tournament is double-elimination, with 10 teams representing different regions across the country battling it out while another 10 teams representing international countries march through its bracket coincidingly.
Northeast Seattle’s faces the winner of the Southwest v. West matchup, Needville, Texas, Wednesday. The winner of that matchup will move on to play for the U.S. Championship Saturday. If Northeast Seattle claims the U.S. title, the team will move on to the final stage: The Little League World Championship game Sunday.
“In your wildest dreams, did you ever think you were going to be in the position you are right now heading into the semifinals?” Ursula Reutin, co-host of The Gee and Ursula Show on KIRO Newsradio, asked Dr. Christian Shewey, the head coach of Northeast Seattle.
“Gosh, I can’t. I definitely could say when we got this team together, this was a possibility and, as you mentioned, a wild dream,” Shewey answered. “It definitely wasn’t a goal that we set forward just because it’s such a high aspiration to get here. But now that we’re here, it’s become a reality. So it’s pretty incredible.”
Shewey is a dentist by trade, joining the family’s practice in 2000 after graduating from the University of Washington’s (UW) School of Dentistry. He attended the university through a baseball scholarship as a catcher. He earned two All Pac-10 Team nods before forgoing the opportunity to play professional baseball in favor of dentistry, despite being drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 37th round of the 1992 MLB draft.
“As a coach, it’s a different level of pleasure. You just take so much pride in the entity of his team,” Shewey said when comparing the thrills of the sport as both a player and as a coach. “I think when you’re a player, of course you’re team oriented, but how you play kind of drives your personal enjoyment. As a coach, I takes so much pride in how all these kids are doing. You feel like you’ve got 12 kids that are yours on this team. It’s been more enjoyable on this side of things.”
Kirkland is home to Washington state’s only Little League World Series championship, when the club representing the city won in 1982.
More on Little League in Washington: Remembering Kirkland Little League’s 1982 World Series win
“Coach, you’ve got the big game tomorrow at noon, what is your message going to be to the kids?” Gee asked Shewey.
“That’s easy. I’m sending the same message all the time. We’re just going to keep saying, ‘you guys just be you,'” Shewey answered. “Yeah, it’s a bigger game, but we’ve already played in front of full houses already down here. The game itself shouldn’t be any different. As we’re getting closer to the tip of the spear when we get close to the championship, it’s going to be tough. The competition is legit here. We’re expecting high nervous energy, but our message to the kids will be the same as it stands from day one: Just be you. Just be yourself out there.”