For the third straight year, Pendleton’s 12U All-Stars came up just short of a championship at the Little League Western Regional.
On Thursday morning, the Pendleton team saw its run come to an end with a 10-0 loss to a very good Kirkland, Washington, team at Al Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino, California. It was Pendleton’s second loss to the Washington team at the tournament, following a 11-1 loss on Tuesday.
“I thought we could turn things around today,” Pendleton coach Scott Wilson said Thursday evening. “We made some changes in the field and in the lineup, but nothing worked. Washington was just too good.”
Pendleton’s offense, which had scored 47 runs in its first two regional games against Wyoming and Idaho, was kept out of the hit column by Washington pitchers Kya Aldrich and Christina Minor, as the duo struck out four and induced five groundouts and three pop fly outs.
“Washington’s two pitchers are just absolute aces,” Wilson said. “They could hit any spot at any time and their pitchers were mightier than our bats.”
The only two baserunners for Pendleton was Lea Wilson and Madaline Schumacher each reaching on walks. Schumacher and Melanie Boatman both pitched for Pendleton and the duo couldn’t keep Washington’s red-hot offense quiet enough, giving up five hits and seven walks.
Pendleton finishes the regional with a 3-2 record for the second consecutive year.
Later in the evening, Washington went on to defeat Arizona 4-1 to win the Western Regional championship. Wilson said the Pendleton team watched the championship game in the stands and rooted for Washington for a couple of reasons.
“Reason No. 1 is they’re our neighbor and we wanted to root for the Pacific Northwest,” he said. “And reason No. 2 is if you do have to lose, you might as well lose to the champion.”
With the tournament now over, Wilson said the team is ready to come home after a week in Southern California, but he is impressed by what the team did to represent Pendleton and Oregon overall.
“Every girl contributed down here and we would not be the same team without each one,” he said. “They’re a resilient group and they don’t quit. I think Pendleton and the state of Oregon should be extremely proud of how well-mannered our girls were and how hard they played on the field.
“I’m absolutely proud of them.”