West Side one victory away from Little League state championship

Five runs in first three innings stand up against Galion

Coach Kenny Coomer gave West Side a short speech after a 5-3 victory Thursday against Galion in the Little League state tournament at Bevelhymer Park.

» PHOTOS: West Side vs. Galion

“We’re not done,” he told them. “We’re happy, but we’re not satisfied. We’ve got one more game and a day and a half to prepare for it.”

West Side improved to 4-0 in the tournament and can clinch the championship with one victory Saturday. It will play Galion, New Albany or Boardman at 10 a.m. If West Side loses, it will play a second game against the same team at 1:30 p.m.

The Hamilton 12-year-old team seeks its ninth state championship in the last 11 years and a berth in the Great Lakes Regional, which will be held Aug. 4-10 in Westfield, Ind. West Side last won the regional championship in 2010.

Coomer said the team is staying in the Columbus area during the state tournament instead of driving back to Hamilton. On their off days, they have held practices in the morning and evening each day.

» RELATED: West Side wins 35th straight district title

“We keep them busy,” he said. “We went to a Clippers game last night.”

Asked if they did anything else fun, Coomer said, “The fun is baseball.”

It has been a fun tournament for West Side. This was its closest game yet. West Side won its first game Saturday, 13-1 over Maumee, and then beat Tallmadge 13-2 on Sunday and Mount Vernon 7-2 on Tuesday.

Against Galion, West Side scored one run in the first, three in the second and one in the third, building a 5-1 lead for starting pitcher Chad Taylor, who struck out seven and allowed four hits before leaving with one out in the sixth.

“His breaking ball was working pretty good, especially after that first inning,” Coomer said. “He kept them off balance. His fastball was just effective enough as a second pitch. Chad’s been there for us from the beginning. He’s just one of those kids when it’s game time, he’s a kid you can count on.”

» PHOTOS: West Side vs. Mount Vernon

Matt Ponat0ski got the offense going with a lead-off double in the first inning. He scored on a two-out single by Elijah Brandner.

Connor Cuozzo drove in the second run with a fielder’s choice groundout in the second. Cam Carter, who hit a three-run home run Tuesday, drove in the third run with a single. Later in the inning, West Side executed a double steal with pinch runner Brooks Treadway stealing home to give the team a 4-1 lead. Treadway extended the lead to 5-1 with a RBI hit in the third.

After the game, Coomer said he didn’t know who would pitch Saturday.

“We’ve got a lot of time to think about it,” he said. “We’re going to warm up four or five kids right now just to kind of get a good feel. We’re pretty deep. It’s just who’s pitching better that day.”

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