MADRAS — The 11-12 boys Hood River All Stars shifted into cruise control a little early Wednesday, losing their district semifinal game, 6-5, to eventual champion Bend South.
Thanks to a four-run first inning, the All Stars headed into the bottom of the sixth inning with a 5-3 lead. But two leadoff basehits, a walk and a hit batsman sealed their fate as Bend South escaped with a trip to the finals against
“I was very disappointed to see our team play so well, basically being unchallenged in our pool, and then not having a second chance to play after losing the lead for the first time all tournament,” coach Ed Ing said in reference to the new tournament format.
“But this team represented Hood River extremely well, being focused on the games at hand, having fun and forming friendships away from the field,” he said.
Until last year, the district tournament format was double-elimination. But, starting this year, the team with the top record earns a bye to the finals, while the No. 2 and No. 3 teams have to play for a right to play in the finals.
Deschutes earned a bye to the finals based on a superior run differential, thus pitting Hood River against Bend South.
But, contrary to Hood River and Deschutes, Bend South had lost earlier in the tournament, which would have forced them to beat the undefeated teams twice in previous years.
“It was a premature end to an exciting experience,” Ing said, “but we came away knowing we had accomplished a lot. When you set high goals, it can be hard when they are not realized. But we are very proud of the boys on this team.”
Ing and Paul Pate assisted manager Larry Williams in leading the 11-12 Majors All Stars to a third-place district finish.
The team: Junior Alaniz, Jimmy Gilkerson, Taylor Gray, Taylor Sanders, Tyler Williams, Andy Pate, Jeremy Rowley, Dylan Bauld, Ethan Lucas, Kevin Kreps, Philip Stenberg and Alex Ing.