HERMISTON - Two games deep in the 11-12 year old baseball Little League District 5 Tournament, hometown Hermiston is laying the foundation for a return trip to the state tournament after beating Deschutes 15-0 Sunday at the Field of Dreams complex.
It was their second shutout win after beating Willow Creek 11-0 on Saturday.
"I really like the start because of course we won two shutouts in a row,"?Keith Anderson said. "I really think we have a shot at state."
"We've all talked about it, Little League World Series is where we want to go,"?Keegan Crafton chimed in, adding Japan also is on the team's checklist.
The team said one of their biggest goals coming into the tournament was to hit the ball better and it appears they are accomplishing that.
Nychal Gritz got things rolling in the first inning with a home run and Chase Root and Keegan Crafton also added dingers in the game. Gritz also had a single in the game and scored two runs, Root added a double and scored three times and Crafton was 2 for 2 with a double and two runs.
The Hermiston all-star squad didn't put up 15 runs off three hitters, though, as R.J. Roble went 3 for 4 with a double and two runs, Jay Lindeman was 2-2 with a double and two runs and Austin White was 1-1 with a double and two runs.
Austin Monahan started the game, throwing two full innings and 45 pitches while striking out five. Root picked up the win in relief.
The team still has three more games in pool play, playing at 2 p.m. today and Tuesday, then at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday with the top team from their pool moving into Thursday's 11 a.m. championship.
Root said the team is confident they are the best squad at the tournament and Anderson added Bend North is the team they are looking to as their toughest challenge.
While the 11-12 year olds were busy wowing fans with their long bombs on Field of Dreams Field 1, just across the alley another Hermiston team kept fans at the edge of their seats in different way.
Coming off a 23-2 win over Jefferson County on Saturday, the Hermiston 10-11 year olds rode a wave of confidence into their match-up with Bend North Sunday.
But Bend North jumped out to an early lead and were up 5-0 in the fourth inning.
Hermiston refused to go quietly though, scoring six runs in the fourth to take a 6-5 lead.
The inning started with a base on balls to Tyler Sexton, then Jordan Horning hit a single to right field.
Two more walks to Nathaniel Jimenez and Bob Coleman got Hermiston on the board, then Jerry Ramirez wore a pitch for the team to get another run. Kyler Mikahi picked up the only other hit in the rally when he connected for a single.
Bend came back with a run in the sixth to send the game into extra innings, where they won 8-6 in seven, but Hermiston coach Jim Sexton made sure none of his players left the dugout with a hung head.
"My hat is off to my kids, they played a good game."?Sexton said. "They didn't lay down. They got down 2-0, 3-0 they were kind of kicking the dirt around but, hey, we're home team we get last at bat. They come back the next inning and put six runs on the board. That's baseball right there. If we had to lose I'd rather lose like that."
"We weren't really worried about any team and then we got here and battled with (Bend), we've just got to fight,"?pitcher Hermiston's Josh Dever pitches against Bend North in their 10-11 year old District 5 Tournament game Sunday in Hermiston. Bend North won the game 8-6 in seven innings.
Staff photo by Matt EntrupTyler Sexton said. "I think we did great this game."
The team needs a win today to secure a place in the brackets beginning Tuesday.
"There's enough kids on here that they'll come back, they want to win,"?Jim Sexton said. "We've got a pretty good group, there's a few odd balls but they're 10-11 year olds. They'll come back, they'll fight."
Pendleton Recap:?The Pendleton 9-10 and 10-11 all-stars have gotten out to great starts to their District 3 Tournaments in La Grande.
Both teams started the bats early and cruised to opening round victories Saturday.
The 9-10 boys defeated Wallowa Valley 13-3, led by home runs from Caden Smith and Johnny Malcom. Mekhi Foreman, Malcom, Caden Smith, Bryson Pierce and Shaw Jerome pitched for Pendleton.
The 10-11 team took advantage of production throughout the lineup in compiling a 15-3 victory over Milton-Freewater. Jake Engelson pitched 4 2-3 innings with Wes Persinger and Devon Satterwhite finishing in relief.
On Sunday the 9-10 team beat Pilot Rock 12-2, giving the team from Pilot Rock their first loss of the tournament.
Caden Smith hit another home run while Foreman was 2 for 3, Malcom was 2-3 with a triple and Pierce was 2-2.
Gage Correa picked up the win.
Games reported for the
weekend of June 27-28*
District 5, Hermiston
Crook County 6, Jefferson Co. 5
Hood River 3, Columbia 1
Deschutes 5, Sisters 0
Hermiston 11, Willow Creek 0
Bend North 6, Bend South 4
Hood River 7, The Dalles 4
Bend South 17, Willow Creek 4
Columbia 10, Jefferson Co. 7
Sisters 11, Bend North 1
Hermiston 15, Deschutes 0
Hood River 17, Bend South Red 0
Hermiston 23, Jefferson Co. 2
Bend South Royal 4, Bend North 3
The Dalles 8, Bend South Red 1
Bend North 8, Hermiston 6
Hood River Blue 13, Deschutes 3
Crook Co. 19, Hermiston Gold 10
Hermiston Purple 17, The Dalles Green 0
Bend North 13, Sisters 1
Willow Creek 21, Hood River Gold 3
Jefferson Co. 7, Redmond 3
Columbia 6, Bend South 3
Columbia 11, Deschutes 1
The Dalles Blue 10, Hermiston Gold 0
Hermiston Purple 9, Willow Creek 0
Bend North 18, Redmond 1
Sisters 10, Jefferson Co. 5
Columbia 16, South Central 12
Hermiston 7, Hood River 4
Columbia 9, Jefferson Co. 5
Hood River 9, Columbia Blue 6
Redmond 14, Columbia Red 8
Hermiston 23, Jefferson Co. 0
Columbia Blue 26, Jefferson Co. 6
Hood River 11, Columbia Red 1
Hermiston 12, Redmond 1
Crook Co. 11, Willow Creek 8
Sisters 9, Columbia 4
Crook Co. 13, Jefferson Co. 3
9-10 Baseball (La Grande)
Pilot Rock 12, Harney County 9
Pendleton 13, Wallowa Valley 3
Pendleton 12, Pilot Rock 2
10-11 Baseball (La Grande)
Pendleton 15, Milton-Freewater 3
*Game scores and
highlights can be reported by calling 966-0838 or by e-mail at email@example.com.