By David Krueger Herald Writer
If the Pacific Little League All-Stars have been nervous during their time at the Northwest Regional in San Bernardino, Calif., their manager hasn’t been able to tell.
The All-Star baseball team that features 12- and 13-year-olds from Edmonds, Lynnwood and unincorporated Snohomish County finished pool play Tuesday with a 4-0 record. Pacific has outscored its opponents 38-11 and clinched the No. 1 seed in the single-elimination regional semifinals that begin Thursday.
“The thing that’s funny is our kids are playing so relaxed, borderline too relaxed,” Pacific manager Robley Corsi, Jr. said. “But we keep getting it done. These kids have a lot of confidence. It goes back to our mantra, ‘I believe.’ They really believe we can get this done. It’s not a bad thing to be too relaxed.”
Pacific plays Montana in the second semifinal at 6 p.m. today. The game will be televised by ESPN. The two semifinal winners play for the regional championship at 1 p.m. Saturday, with the winner advancing to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Pacific has experienced a little bit of everything in its regional run. The All-Stars came from behind in their first two games, including an extra-inning victory over Montana.
In game No. 3, against Idaho, Pacific led the whole way. After getting two runs in the top of the first, the All-Stars held off a team from Lewiston for a 5-2 win, their closest game of the tournament. They followed that up with a 13-3 victory over Wyoming in Tuesday that was called after four innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
“They don’t get nervous,” Corsi said. “When they have a lead, they don’t get nervous. They keep playing. It’s good to get to go through all these games where we’ve had to come back and fight. This team has a lot of character.”
Corsi said his team has become more resilient since the district playoffs started in Lynnwood more than a month ago.
“We are becoming more and more battle tested every game where we have to fight back,” Corsi said. “It goes back even to districts. In one game we were down by four in the top of the sixth and they didn’t hang their heads. They don’t get nervous. They really feel that every game they get into they’ve got a chance.”
The All-Stars have gotten strong performances from several players, including pitchers Logan Kruse and Tyler Durbin. Durbin also has been a force on offense, with several big hits to drive in runs.
They’re just two of 12 Pacific players who have taken turns stepping up.
“It’s a new hero every night,” Corsi said. “That is the beauty of this thing. That’s why I always like to say this is a true team. Each victory is a team victory.”
Despite being two wins from the Little League World Series, Corsi said his players are not thinking beyond the next game.
“I don’t think they realize the magnitude of what they’ve got going on,” he said. “I think that’s the best part of this whole thing. These guys just want to go out and play baseball. We don’t talk about Williamsport. If we can get there great.
“Let’s go out and play baseball and see what happens.”