WALLA WALLA - Mercer Island displayed all of its weapons Thursday in final four action at the Washington State Majors Little League baseball state tournament at the Walla Walla Valley complex.
Mercer Island, a 2009 American qualifier for the Little League World Series at Williamsport, Pa., got one-hit pitching from its pitching staff, and its offense pounded out 10 hits and scored 11 runs, ending Walla Walla Valley's state run with an 11-1 win.
Mercer Island advances to today's semifinal at 5 p.m. against Mill Creek, which lost to South Kitsap West, 10-8, on Thursday.
The winner of today's game plays South Kitsap West at 10 a.m. Saturday for the state championship. A South Kitsap West win earns them the title. If South Kitsap loses the first game, a decisive game will be played at 1 p.m.
"That's an elite district in our state Little League," Valley manager Sam Worth said of Mercer Island. "It is one of the elite teams out of it (District 9)."
Mercer Island got one in the first inning as Parker Simpson's two-out double produced the only run Mercer Island would need on this day.
Mercer Island continued to add on as Alex Shanks' two-run double highlighted a three-run second, and Robert Weaver and Justin Ho chipped in run-scoring singles in a four-run Mercer Island third.
Mercer Island starting pitcher Nikhil Nayar never allowed Valley's offense to get untracked. Nayar struck out the last five Valley hitters he faced and left with one out in the third with an 8-0 lead.
"They didn't let us get off the mat at all," Worth added. "Pitching-wise, their pitcher (Nayar) mowed us down."
After Nayar left the mound, Josh Camacho, Dalton James and Parker Likes worked walks, but Valley left the bases full.
Nayar capped the scoring with a three-run home run in the Mercer Island fourth to run the score to 11-0.
Valley came back to load the bases as Andrew Kemp and Patrick McKibben drew walks, and Isaiah Lomeli reached on Mercer Island's only error of the game. Reliever Alex Shanks enticed a double play on a fly to center and a tag out at second, allowing a run to score but ending Valley's tournament run.
Carter Davis singled to lead off the game for Valley, but that was the only hit Valley mustered off four Mercer Island pitchers.
Valley finishes with a District 5 championship and a fourth-place state finish.
"I would coach these guys anytime, anywhere," Worth said. "They taught me a lot about positive mentality and getting out there and giving it your best shot. I've got one more year to coach (since starting in 1978), and this is a good way to just about be done."
After getting the traditional ice dunking, Worth said, "I work at Jones Truck and Implement and they covered for me to go play baseball.
"Valley put on a good tournament and we've heard that from everybody. I'm just proud to have been a part of it. I hope every single one of them (Valley players) plays baseball until they drag them off the field."
Mercer Island 11, Walla Walla Valley 0
Mercer Island 134 3 - 11 10 1
Valley 000 1 - 1 1 3
Nayar, Smith (3), Boissoneault (3), Shanks (4) and Fuchs; Edwards, Lomeli (3), Lemma (4) and Davis.
HR - Mercer: Nayar.
Hits - Mercer: Ho 2, Simpson 2, Shanks, Sandwith 2, Weaver, Smith, Nayar; WW: Davis.
Washington State Majors Little League Tournament
at Walla Walla Valley
Mercer Island 11, Walla Walla Valley 1
South Kitsap West 10, Mill Creek 8
Mill Creek vs. Mercer Island, 5 p.m.
South Kitsap West vs. Mill Creek/Mercer Island winner, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., if necessary