It’s on to the Oregon State Tournament for the Hood River Valley 10U Little League Baseball All-Star team.
The 13-member Hood River squad, guided by manager Tyson Jacobs, won the Oregon District-5 Championship following a 10-4 win over the Bend South All-Stars July 5 at Kramer Field in The Dalles.
“I’m very proud of these kids because they’ve all worked very hard the last two weeks,” said Jacobs, who is taking a team to state for the first time in his five-year coaching career. “I think it’s the first time in seven years that a Hood River 10U team advanced to state. They’ve been pretty much practicing every day and sometimes we had two-a-day practices. This is a good group of kids and they’ve been playing ball together since they were age eight. This was the first time that we had to play during hot weather, because our first three games were all at 8 a.m.”
The Hood River All-Stars (4-0) concluded the six day, eight-team tournament with the momentum of four consecutive wins in which they outscored opponents by a total margin of 62-9.
A powerhouse Hood River squad simply overpowered four opponents with a very potent offense (15.5 runs per game average) and playing rock solid defense while allowing an average of just 2.25 runs per game.
Hood River started the District Tournament with an impressive 18-1 win June 30 over the Jefferson County (Madras) All-Stars. The Hood River All-Stars demonstrated from the outset of their opening contest that they were a top district title contender as they scored 10 runs in the first inning. They maintained control of the momentum and won the lopsided contest via the 15-run Mercy Rule after three innings.
Trevor Jacobs led Hood River’s explosive offense (14 hits) as he batted three-for-four with four RBIs. Tyson Harjo (two-for-two, two RBIs), Maverick Hockett (one-for-two, three RBIs) and Deacon Ybarra (three-for-four, three RBIs) also contributed to Hood River’s offense. The strong pitching duo of Nickolas Tuttle and Tristin Baker combined to hold Jefferson County to just one hit. Baker (two-for-four, RBIs) and Jackson Speidel also drove in runs for Hood River.
In its second contest July 1, Hood River steamrolled another opponent in a 17-0 win over Crook County. The trio of starting pitcher Bodie Stuben (six strikeouts) and relievers Maxwell Graves and Ybarra combined for a one-hitter.
“We got our bats going well and we had a great time in winning the District Championship game,” said Ybarra, son of coach Danny Ybarra. “We had good pitching, we had lots of baserunners and we scored lots of runs and we had a good game. We’re deep in our pitching and so we can have lots of guys do a good job for us on the mound. We battled hard the entire game, we played good defense and we hit really well throughout the tournament. It feels really good to be going to the state tournament.”
In its third contest July 3 against Bend South (3-2), Hood River continued to demonstrate that it was the cream of the crop in the tournament. Hood River quickly built a 7-0 second inning advantage and then extended it to 12-0 in the fifth.
Bend South came back, scoring four in the bottom of the frame to avoid a shutout and trim the score to 12-4. Hood River responded with a five-run sixth inning for a final score of 17-4 to win by double digits. Ybarra (two-for-five, three RBIs), Stuben (two-for-three, two RBIs) and Graves (three-for-three, three RBIs) each had RBIs in the sixth. Hood River outhit Bend South 12-6. Starting pitcher Stuben struck out five and allowed two hits in two and two-third innings. Relief pitchers Ybarra, Baker and Tuttle also had strong performances on the mound in helping lead their team to the victory.
The two squads then had a rematch in the District Championship game last Thursday. Hood River again had the early momentum in the first inning. Ybarra (three-for-four, two RBIs) and catcher Tristan Baker (two-for-four, RBI) both had solid hits to help Hood River take a 3-0 advantage. Bend South responded with a rally, knotting it 3-3 after one inning.
Hood River’s momentum continued in the second as Stuben and Ybarra again sparked the offense. Ybarra’s RBI double and Stuben’s RBI single lifted Hood River in front 5-3. Hood River extended the margin while getting a run in the third and one in the fourth to go up 7-3.
Hood River capitalized on Bend South mistakes (two walks, error, wild pitch) to extend its lead to 10-3 in the fifth, highlighted by Stuben’s RBI single and Davin Snyder’s sacrifice fly RBI. Bend South added a run in the bottom half of the frame for the final 10-4 margin.
“It feels great to win the District Championship and I’m really excited, because I think we’re capable of having more success at the state tournament and it should be a good experience,” said Stuben, a fifth grader at Parkdale Elementary School. “I felt pretty good today and I’m glad that we were all getting our bats going good.”
Stuben was spectacular on the mound while throwing a two-hitter, with nine strikeouts in three and one third innings. Ybarra relieved him for the final two and a third innings. Hood River outhit Bend South 11-3.
Ybarra led the All-Stars offensively with a total of 10 hits and 9RBI in four games. Stuben had a total of nine hits and 7RBI and Maverick Hockett had five hits and 8RBI.
Hood River plays its first contest in the 10U state tournament Thursday versus Del Norte at 8 p.m. at Holland Field in Salem. The ballpark is located at 390 Cordon Rd. N.E. in Salem.
Hood River’s 12U Little League All-Stars also played in the District-5 Tournament in The Dalles. Hood River lost it’s opening contest in the double-elimination tournament 7-3 to Jefferson County (Madras) June 30.
In a must-win situation, Hood River showed its resilient qualities and responded quite well to the challenge by getting a 5-3 victory over Crook County July 2 and avoided being eliminated from the eight-team event.
Hood River then had another must-win game July 3 versus John Day River. The 12U All-Stars were playing with a higher confidence level and they came out and demonstrated a potent offensive attack. Ethan Rivera (two-for-two, two intentional walks) helped sparked the offense as he hit a solo homer over the 200-foot left field fence to put Hood River up 1-0.
“We played great defense against Crook County and I was very excited about hitting a home run,” said Rivera, who also homered in the win over Crook County. “It’s kind of frustrating to have two walks, but I was just trying to have fun in my last season of Little League. Crook County’s coach (Jessie Martinez) told me that I should take it as a compliment to have two intentional walks, so that was pretty cool. I had a good time in the tournament and it was fun experience.”
Hood River starting pitcher Grady Williams had a phenomenal effort on the mound as he tossed a three-hitter, walked two and struck out six in four and one third innings. He helped Hood River hold John Day scoreless early in the contest as it remained 1-0 after two innings.
“Everyone came through and played well to help us come out on top in two must win situation games,” said Williams. “It took a great team effort for us to win two games. To come back after losing our first game and battle through and win twice was very exciting and it was an awesome experience. I had lots of fun in the tournament with such a great group of guys that I really love playing baseball with.”
Hood River added a run in the third on Rivera’s RBI single, driving home Williams (2-for-4, RBI), who hit a leadoff single and it was 2-0. John Day River answered and got one run to make it 2-1 after three innings.
Hood River then capitalized on six walks issued by John Day River in the fourth to extend it’s advantage. Hood River batted around its lineup in the inning with 11 batters going to the plate.
Williams hit an RBI double and Davis Parr’s 2RBI single helped power Hood River in front 7-1. John Day River added a run in the bottom of the frame for the final 7-2 margin.
Hood River relief pitchers Parr and Addison Postlewait both went to the mound and pitched strong to help shut down John Day River’s offense in the final two innings.
Hood River, guided by manager Kasey Postlewait, faced a tough The Dalles squad in it’s third straight elimination game and lost 7-1 on the Fourth of July to conclude the district tournament with a 2-2 record.
For a majority of the players, most of whom are age 12, it was their final Little League Baseball game.
“The Dalles is very good and it’s always a very tough rivalry game whenever we play them because of the close proximity between our two communities,” said manager Postlewait. “We played competitive throughout the game. I’m very proud of the team and I’m honored to be their coach. Our starting pitcher Hunter Duckwall did a good job on the mound and Rivera played very well in his first time on an All-Star team. For most of these kids, it was also the first time they’ve played on All-Stars and they all did a good job and we had lots of fun.”