West Side Little League 12-year-old coach Ken Coomer isn’t normally a superstitious man.
However, he wasn’t going to leave anything to chance until after it was over.
In 34 years, West Side had never lost a game in the District 9 tournament — the first step to Williamsport, Pa. for the Little League World Series — and Coomer wanted to make sure this year was no different.
“I didn’t want to talk about it until it was over,” Coomer said. “I didn’t want to jinx it, but I am glad to be part of all of them I have been.”
West Side wasted no time making it 35 straight titles Wednesday night at West Side Little League, taking a 17-0 run-rule win in three innings over Anderson to advance to the state tournament.
“I like where we are at right now, but we need to keep going up and peak at the right time,” Coomer said. “These guys work hard. We have been out here everyday in 90-degree weather and they haven’t complained. They have just come in and gone after it.”
West Side went after it quick in the title game.
After Matt Penataski worked a perfect top of the first, Hamilton put a crooked number on the board thanks to a three-run homer by Peyton Davis for a 3-0 lead.
Hamilton recorded nine more hits, and took advantage of four of Anderson’s four errors to bust the game open with an 11-run second inning.
Peyton Davis drove in three runs in the second while Chad Taylor plated two more in an inning where West Side sent 17 batters to the plate.
“It just flows,” Coomer said. “It’s contagious. Once someone starts to hitting, everything just starts to fall. But we have been working a lot on our hitting.”
Connor Cuozzo ended the game with a three-run homer with one out in the third inning.
“I’ll take three innings,” Coomer said. “I didn’t expect it.”
Hamilton had defeated Anderson in the championship bracket 10-0 in four innings earlier in the tournament.
“We had chances the first game we played them, we just didn’t break it open,” Coomer. “Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take 10-0, but we shuffled some things around tonight and wanted to get a little more work in.”
Penataski threw the first two innings before Cam Carter closed it out in the third.
Every West Side player scored at least one run.
West Side has a 10-day break before opening the state tournament July 20 in New Albany, just outside of Columbus. The winner of the state tournament advances to the Great Lakes Regional in Westfield, Ind.
“Our kids haven’t really been together that long,” Coomer said. “We have to do a crash course on everything. But we have been doing this awhile and we think we have the ingredients to put a run together. We like our chances.”
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