Thanks to a 16-14 victory over St. Helens, the Scappoose juniors will play in the state championship tournament
Now that little league action has wrapped up at the district tournament for local teams, there is one squad left in contention for the Oregon state championship. The Scappoose juniors will travel to take on Centennial of district two on Saturday, July 19 at Centennial High School, kicking off a week of competition to decide which district will take home the state title and move on to regionals at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington.
Getting to the state tournament, though, wasn't an easy journey. One of just two teams competing in the junior division of district one in Oregon, Scappoose had a familiar foe standing between them and a berth in the state championships: St. Helens.
The visitors took the first match up, beating Scappoose 15-8 and setting up a do-or-die situation for Scappoose on Thursday, July 10. Scappoose responded by blowing out St. Helens 21-11 in five innings, evening the score and setting stage for Friday's winner-take-all game at Scappoose High School.
But halfway through the first inning, it looked like Scappoose might just run away with things. Taking advantage of a few mistakes in the outfield, Scappoose was able to knock in six runs in the bottom of the first, claiming a commanding lead and taking the wind out of St. Helens' sails.
St. Helens responded by roaring nearly all the way back, scoring five runs in the bottom of the frame and putting themselves firmly back in the conversation. Scappoose found another handful of runs through the next few innings, and seemed to be in position to close things out and head off to the state tournament with ease.
But not so fast. Scappoose switched pitchers, hoping to give St. Helens a different look and a more rested arm, and St. Helens pounced.
The visitors in grey scored seven runs in the bottom of the fourth, scampering back on top and taking a 12-8 edge to the fifth inning. Scappoose ran home a pair to creep within two runs, but now the talk in the St. Helens dugout wasn't about catching up, it was about closing.
Unfortunately for St. Helens, the orange squad had a little more left in the tank. The home team found another gear just in time, scoring six more runs down the stretch and outlasting St. Helens, who fell 16-14 and will bow out of baseball for the summer.
Scappoose will take part in a four-team, double-elimination playoff with Hermiston, West Salem and Centennial, their first opponent. Games begin on July 19 between West Salem and Hermiston at 2 p.m., with the Scappoose game following at 5 p.m. The championship game is likely to be Tuesday, July 22.
Little League Roundup
In the 9-10 district tournament, the rush of beating their seven-mile rivals quickly wore off for the St. Helens team at Falbo Field in Parkrose. St. Helens topped Scappoose 11-5 on July 9, but fell quickly behind and lost to Wilshire-Riverside - Honish 14-3 on Friday afternoon. They matched up against Wilshire-Riverside's Jordan squad in the losers bracket but couldn't quite hang on and fell 6-5.
Scappoose, after toppling at St. Helens' hands on the first day of action, lost to Interstate-Kenton/Willamette 8-4 on Thursday, July 10, putting a cap on their season.
Aside from a tough 3-1 loss to Wilshire-Riverside in the second round of the Little League baseball tournament at the Columbia County Fairgrounds, the St. Helens little league team had a fistful of highlights. Following their loss, they hammered Interstate-Kenton/Willamette 25-3, setting up a showdown with Rainier. Their third game went equally as well, ending in an 18-9 victory for the host team, but a second game against Riverside with a chance to face Hollywood for the district title didn't go quite as well. Riverside took the contest, but lost 9-0 to Hollywood in the final.