Chehalis staves off Larch Mountain to win District Championship

Chehalis Little League All-Stars advance to state tournament


Baseball can be a cruel game.

Larch Mountain was down to its final out and trailed Chehalis 7-5 in the District 3 Championship Game, but Braydon Weiss stepped up with two on and two out and drilled a line drive down the right-field line.

“It was all the emotions in the world when you saw the ball go,” Chehalis coach Dan Hill said, who admitted he thought the ball landed fair.

Most of the rest of the fans, coaches, and players also thought the ball got down in fair territory, but it had actually leaked just inches foul. 

On the next pitch, Weiss hit another line drive, but that one went right into the glove of a waiting Adam Elder at shortstop, ending the game and giving Chehalis the district tournament crown.

“Sometimes, you gotta have a little luck on your side to win a tournament,” Hill said with a smile.

Chehalis is through to the state tournament after going 4-1 in the district tournament, including two wins in three games against Larch Mountain.

Larch Mountain defeated Chehalis 2-1 earlier in the day on Sunday to force the winner-take-all title game, and they had allowed just two runs in the four games prior to the title game.

“We told them, there’s gonna be close games,” Larch Mountain coach AJ Easley said. “It felt like about two inches right there. It is what it is. We battled till the last strike and last out. I’m really proud of them.”

In the title game, Chehalis had the upper hand early. A pair of infield singles kickstarter a four-run rally in the second, and even after a couple of bases-loaded walks, Chehalis held a 4-2 lead going into the third.

Kaden Johnson then tied the game with a two-run home run, his second of the day. His first, in the first inning of the morning game, held as the game-winner.

“He’s been that steady force in the middle,” Easley said, while also noting that he’s had plenty of success on the mound in two outings. “He’s been pretty dominant this week, and he’s done really well.”

The fifth inning was similar to the second, as Chehalis retook the lead with three before Larch Mountain responded with one to get back within a pair.

“We know there’s always gonna be ups and downs,” Hill said. “It’s never gonna look pretty all the time. You gotta handle the blows when they come and stay positive with each other. This group, they’re learning to do that. 

“They know they’re gonna have some adversity, but if they stick together as a team and stick with the process, good things will happen.”

Chehalis is through to the 13-team state tournament, and as the District 3 winner, it is one of three district winners to receive a bye to the upper bracket quarterfinals. Chehalis will begin play in the double-elimination tournament on Sunday, July 14.

“It’s super special,” Hill said. “For them to come out and play the way they did, I’m really proud of them. Just excited to play baseball for another week.”