The quest for the Little League World Series moves into high gear today with the opening of the Washington State Little League tournament at Fort Vancouver Little League.
The first of the state tournament’s 25 games is at 12:30 p.m. today.
Central Vancouver represents District 4 and opens play at 1 p.m. today.
District 6 representative Salmon Creek plays its first game at 5 p.m. Sunday.
The tournament is for boys ages 11-12 and is the second step on the path to the Little League World Series.
Champions from 13 districts around the state will compete for the state’s berth in the Little League Baseball Pacific Northwest Regional in San Bernardino, Calif.
The format is double-elimination, meaning a team is out of the tournament if it loses two games.
The championship game will be at 1 p.m. July 30, with a second championship contest if needed at 1 p.m. July 31.
Babe Ruth baseball
15s state tournament — Hazel Dell Metro won its pool, defeateing Hoquiam 7-3 at Kelso’s Rister Stadium.
Jay Becker was 4 for 4 with a double, Hayden Humphrey was 2 for 4 with a triple and RBI, and Kaiden Grotte was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI in addition to being the winning pitcher. Jason Harmsen also had two hits.
HDM plays in the semifinal today at 4 p.m. against either Kelso or Midland.
Kalama-Woodland-Ridgefield-La Center (KWRL) remained alive in the tournament with a 12-1 win over Richland.
KWRL faces Hoquiam at 1 p.m. today in a loser-out game. The winner plays Centralia in the 7 p.m. semifinal.
The championship is 10 a.m. Sunday.
LL junior baseball
Hazel Dell 8, Stilly Valley 2 — Blake McKinney pitched a complete-game three-hitter to keep Hazel Dell alive in the state tournament at Arlington.
Hazel Dell’s offense accounted for 10 hits. Holden Fielding and Jerrod McInroy each had a double.
Hazel Dell plays a loser-out game at noon today against Spokane. If Hazel Dell wins, it will play the undefeated District 12 team on Sunday. To advance to regionals, Hazel Dell would have to beat District 12 both on Sunday and Monday.