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Mound Time snatches 14U title

After losing to Mid Willamette Valley of Salem in the District 1 Babe Ruth League baseball championship game June 29, Beaverton’s Mound Time 14U All-Stars had hopes of getting revenge when the two powerhouse squads met again.

The two rivals did indeed face each other one more time Saturday and there was a lot more riding on the outcome this time, with a regional tournament berth for the winner.

Mound Time, guided by manager Brian Pollard and coach Paul Gilbertson, got revenge in a big way too, and captured the North Oregon State Tournament title with 4-3 win over Mid Willamette Saturday at Kramer Field in The Dalles. Mound Time advances to play in the Babe Ruth Pacific Northwest Regionals July 28-Aug. 3 in Centralia, Wash.

“It was good that the kids played as good as they could to get revenge and finish on top against these guys when it matters the most,” said Pollard, who had a traditional surprise shower as a couple of players celebrated the win by dumping a water cooler on him. “I’ll take that cool shower any time on a hot (92 degrees) day like this.” by: COURTESY PHOTO: MIKE WEBER - The Beaverton Mound Time All-Star baseball team won the 14U Babe Ruth North Oregon State Championship with a 4-3 win over Mid Willamette Valley of Salem July 13 at Kramer Field in The Dalles. Pictured from left to right in the back row is Coach Paul Gilbertson, Matt Clark, Keegan Huey, Eddie Rosen, Renner Stecki, Sean Davidson, Kyle Temme, Joe Niehuser and Manager Brian Pollard. In the front row (L-R) is Trevor Thiessen, Jayden Hanna, Klye Thompson, Gabe Skoro, Brandon Gordon and Makoa Nakamura.

Both teams had a potent offense as they combined to score a total of 151 runs while going unbeaten against five opponents in the seven-team tourney July 11-13.

The championship game was much different though, with good pitching and solid defense by both squads, which made it tough to put runs on the scoreboard.

MWV (5-1, 41-11 overall) grabbed the early edge, going up 1-0 in the first inning. Mound Time (6-0, 43-13) came back to knot it 1-1 in the second on a sacrifice fly RBI by Kyle Thompson, driving home Renner Stecki (3-for-4, RBI) who hit a leadoff single.

Stecki helped shift the momentum for Mound Time in the top of the third, when he walloped a ball deep to right field and it rolled all the way to the 340-foot fence. Stecki’s RBI double drove in Gabe Skoro (1-for-4), who led off the inning with a single, as Mound Time took a 2-1 lead.

Mound Time turned a double play in the top of the fourth as shortstop Andrew Blair caught a line drive and then threw to first baseman Sean Davidson to put out a runner trying to reach the bag for a tagup. Mound Time extended its advantage to 3-1 in the bottom of the inning on Jayden Hanna’s (2-for-3) RBI single, driving in Davidson (2-for-3), who earlier hit a one-out double.

Impressive baserunning by Casey McGough helped Mound Time extend the margin in the fifth. McGough led off with a single, and two batters later, he ran to third when Keegan Huey (1-for-3, single) reached base on a fielder’s choice. McGough sprinted home to score on a double steal as Huey raced to second base and it was 4-1.

“This is awesome, because this is the third straight year that I’ve had an opportunity to play in regionals,” said Huey, one of four players that was on Mound Time’s 2011 12U state championship team who went to regionals in Kennewick, WA.

“I’m exited to part of a three-peat. If we keep working hard and playing so well together like we have been, then I think we’ll have a good chance of winning regionals and maybe even make it to the Babe Ruth World Series.”

Stecki, an incoming Liberty High freshman, went to the mound in the bottom of the fifth, relieving starting pitcher Brandon Gordon. MWV trimmed the deficit, aided by a Mound Time error, scoring twice to make it 4-3.

“I just tried to throw strikes and do whatever I needed to do to help my team win,” said Stecki, who homered over the 340-foot left field fence in Mound Time’s first game and was the only player in the tourney with a home run. “Winning state was just one of our goals, and now our other goal is to win regionals.”

Mound Time catcher McGough threw out a runner at second base with Skoro making the final defensive putout of the game as Mound Time held on for the close victory. Stecki, who struck out three in three innings pitched, and Gordon combined for a three-hitter.

“It’s been kind of a long, crazy season that we’ve really put a lot of hard work into, so it’s nice to have it pay off now,” said Gordon, an incoming Century High freshman in his first year playing for Mound Time. “It seemed like there was a lot of pressure coming into the game, but it felt nice to have a few good innings on the mound.”

A team dogpile immediately followed on the field as the happy players celebrated the huge win. The team received its championship trophy and then all the players took turns kissing the shiny, new hardware. “At the beginning of the tournament, I knew we would have a shot at winning if we played well enough,” said Pollard. “The kids actually started practicing last winter and worked hard for many months, so they definitely deserve.”




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