For the first time in 34 years, Little League players from NorthWest Austin Little League (www.nwll-austin.org) advanced to the Texas East State Tournament after winning Section 1’s tournament held at Bryan East Little League July 11-16th. Called NorthWest Blue, the team is comprised of 10-11 year olds. For that age group, reaching the Texas East State Tournament is the pinnacle of success. Only 11-12 year olds can embark on the road to the storied Little League World Series in Williamsport.
Congratulate these neighborhood boys for their excellent sportsmanship in both District and Sectional play, their perseverance through the loser’s bracket, and a flawless team effort at the Sectional Tournament championship game: Braden Buckman, Thomas Burrows, Kirby Hill, Dominic Kress, Ryan Kuenast, Joey Menke, Evan Myers, Samuel Mitchell, Scott Politz, Carter Reed, Clint Rickabaugh, and Eric Sandoz.
Five Districts send teams to Section 1’s tournament: Austin (District 11), Lee County, Bryan, Tyler, and Bastrop. In the Sectional Tournament, hometown favorite, Bryan Harvey, fell to NWLL’s heavy hitters, Scott Politz and Samuel Mitchell, supported by Kirby Hill’s 8 strike outs in 4 innings of work completing NWLL’s first game of the tournament (13-2). In the second game, however, NWLL struggled at the plate against Lee County Gidding’s ace, Stone Clopton, losing 0-7. From the loser’s bracket, NWLL faced Bryan Harvey again having similar success (6-2) with noteworthy defensive catches by outfielders Carter Reed and Ryan Kuenast. Advancing to play Giddings again in the double-elimination format of the tournament, NWLL needed to defeat the Lee County team twice to win the tournament. The first encounter was a nail-biter, ending 5-4 with Dominic Kress working well from the mound and the defense allowing only 1 error. The second encounter was led by Joey Menke on the mound pitching a complete game with 6 strike outs allowing only 2 hits and no walks. He was backed by the best infield defense NWLL had shown to date with Eric Sandoz playing a tall first base. Timely line drives by Evan Myers, Braden Buckman and Kirby Hill resulted in the final score of 8-2.
NWLL Blue then advanced to the Texas East State Tournament, held July 19-23 in Tyler where they started off against Post Oak from Houston. After falling behind 3-1 in the first inning and 6-3 through the middle of the fourth, NorthWest rallied for 4 runs in the bottom half of the fourth to win the game 7-6. The second game of the tournament took place Sunday evening and ended with NWLL losing to Lamar American 9-8. You will find the play-by-play of the game here on the NWLL site.