By DAVE LEDER
News staff writer
Adam Williams probably couldn't have imagined a more unwelcome birthday surprise.
When a rogue flyball tagged him between the eyes and broke his nose in last Friday's Dalles Tournament game against Bend South, the right fielder for the 11-12 boys Hood River baseball team thought he might be done for the tournament.
It's amazing what one day will do.
Saturday, in the bottom of the sixth and final inning in a winner-take-all showdown with Hermiston, Williams stood in with the game tied 1-1 and delivered the game-winning RBI, giving Hood River its second straight win against Hermiston and its first district tournament title in 15 years.
"Our bats really came alive," assistant coach Oscar Stenberg said. "We hit the ball really well."
Prior to Williams' tournament-winning hit, the stage was set by gritty defense and a 3-hit, 4 strikeout pitching effort by Austin Kranz to keep the score close at 1-0. Robby Kloster started off the sixth with a single, followed by a Greg Teller walk. Elliot Sherrill delivered a monster double to score Kloster, which tied the game 1-1, and then Williams ripped a no-out pitch up the middle for the win.
"It was his birthday present," Stenberg said of Williams, who turned 12 on Friday.
Williams may not have had his chance to be a hero if it weren't for the 4-hit, 10-strikeout complete game by Kloster in the first game. Since Hood River had already lost to Hermiston and were in the loser's bracket, they had to win two straight games for the title. Jordan Fogle and Kranz powered the offense in a 7-2 victory.
"It's been a great, great season," Stenberg said.
Hood River moves on to play in the Oregon State Tournament in Central Point this Sunday beginning at 6 p.m.