The weekend of June 14-16 brought a surprise series of victories for Kellogg Welding, the Hood River Babe Ruth Baseball team, as they rammed their way through the league tournament to take home the championship.
Despite a dismal regular season record of 5-11 and a seeding of fifth out of eight going into the tournament, Kellogg dominated each day of play. It was like a light had been thrown in the dark; the team gathered and rallied around one another, propelling themselves to success.
“The season was definitely a learning curve for the younger kids but during the tournament the older kids showed up and helped us out,” said coach David Hough.
The Babe Ruth League allows players aged 13-15 to compete, offering an array of experience and skill similar to Little League. It was Kellogg’s senior roster, combined with some stellar pitching performances, that helped them triumph. They crushed their first opponent, the fourth seeded team out of Sherman County, and then barely scrapped past the sixth seeded Pepsi team. In the latter game, Kellogg’s was down 11-3 through the first three innings before they rallied in the fourth, fifth and sixth to pile on 11 runs of their own and win the game 14-11. The star of the game was Hunter Hough, who threw three scoreless innings and provided seven RBIs with an inside-the-park grand slam and two triples.
With the comeback behind them, Kellogg’s headed into the championship game against East Cascade Electric, a team from The Dalles. The sheer depth and experience of Kellogg’s proved too much for ECE, and they lost 5-0. The big bat in the championship game came from Drew Beam, who smashed a three-run home run to centerfield in the third inning. Kellogg’s had turned their season around in spectacular fashion and their tournament run impacted the team immensely.
“That was the big thing to lift the spirit of these kids,” said Hough. “Getting everybody into the game and coming together as one, that was fun. I felt they all grew too, just over those three days.”
With the league tournament over, the league has now formed a 15U All-Star team, a combination of the best local players who will compete in state, regional and national tournaments. The set up is similar to Little League, and the team will begin play in July, with the hope of advancing to the World Series.