Photo by Adam Lapierre
Cool Celebration; players chase down coach Chris Walker with a cooler full of ice water.
By ADAM LAPIERRE
News staff writer
July 6, 2005
The bottom of the final inning of the Little League Championship game Monday afternoon, tied 3-3 in front of a large and loud local crowd, Diamond Fruit batter Justin Schultz stepped up to bat. Facing pitcher Eric McNerney, and a group of sharp McIsaac's fielders, Schultz smacked a line drive through a gap in the outfield. He rounded second like lightning and slid into third for perhaps the biggest hit of the game.
Two batters later, with runners on second and third, a passed-ball resulted in a showdown at home plate. Dust rose fast as Schultz charged and slid into McNerney, who was guarding home. McNerney had the edge. As umpire Bill Van Ek hovered over the play, Schulz's slide knocked the ball out of McNerney's glove and into the dirt. SAFE... and the crowd erupted.
McIsaac's mid-game comeback led to the suspenseful finish. Diamond started the game with an early lead, with Cody Walker and Tony Perez scoring runs in the first by passed balls. McIsaac's put a run on the board in the top of the third when McNerney drove in Dalton Frazier.
The fifth inning was huge for McIsaac's. Behind 3-1, their defense shut down Diamond, striking two batters out and fielding the third for three-up three-down. At bat, Frazier rocked the game with a solo home run to deep left-center field. Austin Angle followed with a single and an eventual run by stealing home to tie the game 3-3 going into the final inning.
For Diamond, Walker went the distance on the mound, giving up five hits, one walk, and striking out nine. Frazier and McNerney combined for McIsaac's, giving up three hits, four walks, and striking out 11.
Diamond coach Chris Walker commented; "It was an outstanding game, played well by both teams."
"I want to thank all the kids for all the dedication and hard work they put into the sport," said Angela Hunter, president of the Hood River County Little League. "And thank you to the coaches, managers, and parents for the effort and time they put into the kids. Without them the whole thing could not be possible."
According to Hunter, the Hood River County Little League is always looking for managers, coaches, volunteers, and umpires. Anyone interested is encouraged to sign inquire during annual sign-ups, scheduled for sometime in February.