A handful of makeup games remain, but for all intents and purposes, the Hood River Little League regular season is over.
All that’s left is the June 26 championship game and, of course, the annual All-Star tournament. All-Star tryouts were held Thursday evening, and selections will be announced next week.
But before we can move on to the district tournament in Hermiston, a certain league title game needs to be played. First-half champs McIsaac’s will take on second-half champs Apple City, who officially claimed their spot in the championship game with a 10-4 win over Maritime Services on Wednesday.
Led by potential All-Stars Taylor Sanders, Tyler McCrea, Logan Haack and Sam Kopecky, Apple City made up for a mediocre start to the season by winning eight games in a row.
The win over Maritime put Apple City at 5-1 in the second half (9-4 overall) — one game ahead of the Odell Lions (5-2, 8-6 overall), who finished the second half on a five-game win streak, including a big 7-6 win over McIsaac’s.
“It was pretty neat to end our season with a win over a team like Parkdale,” Lions manager Ken Goe said. “This team hasn’t had a lot of success for the past few years, so to finish with more wins than losses is great.”
Odell was led all year by Juan Mendiola, Brent Goe, Tyler Colesar and Jason DeGeus. Coach Goe said he thought Mendiola would make the All-Star team, while the other three had a legitimate chance.
Another team that finished the second half on a high note was the Hood River Elks. Last year’s league champs were the only team to figure out Apple City in the second half, and manager Oscar Stenberg was ecstatic after the Elks’ 4-1 win last Saturday.
“Beating Apple City was the highlight of the season, and maybe the all-time highlight for me as a coach,” Stenberg said. “The only run we allowed was in the first, and then we shut them down the rest of the way.”
Pitchers Edgar Aguilera and Juan Ledezma combined to silence the Apple City offense, while Caleb Moga, Carson Wright and Andrew Stenberg picked up the key basehits.
All in all, the league was very balanced in 2004, with each team earning at least two wins in the second half. Maritime (3-4), Diamond Fruit (3-3) and McIsaac’s (3-4) were all bunched in the middle, while the Elks (2-4), Sprint (2-3) and Underwood (2-5) were each competitive throughout the year.
“I think everyone played us better the second time around,” said McIsaac’s manager Kevin Nelson, who hoped to place three players (Brandon Nelson, Dylan Edwards and Austin Angle) on the All-Star team.
“We knew we wouldn’t finish undefeated, but even though we lost a few, we are focused on the championship game,” he said.
Next Saturday’s game will mark the first time in three seasons that Maritime won’t be represented in the championship. But if you ask manager Andre Young, the season was still a success.
“We had a lot of new kids on the team, and we had a few moments of brilliance,” Young said. “We finished .500, which was pretty good, but the big thing was that everyone had fun.”
Maritime was led by Tyler Freas, Tanner Gray, Luke Tanner and Eric Rojas in 2004.