HERMISTON — Hermiston Little League will have a presence at the Oregon 10/11-year-old baseball tournament, but not on the field. Instead, Hermiston Little League will provide the fields as the state’s nine district winners will battle it out to claim the state title in the age group’s final action of the summer.

The state all-star Little League tournament, a double-elimination format event, will kick off today at the Field of Dreams baseball and softball complex with a pair of games. District 7 champion Sprague and District 8 winner Medford National will open up the baseball at 5 p.m. The title holders from districts 9 and 2, Sheldon and Reynolds, will follow that game to close out the evening under the stadium lights.

The Pendleton Little Leaguers, the only locals still left in the 10/11 field, will make their first appearance on Saturday morning. Pendleton draws Scappoose in its opening match, the second game of Saturday’s full slate at 11 a.m.

Pendleton stormed through the District 3 Tournament in Adams at the beginning of the month, swinging past Baker 11-5 in the championship game on July 4.

The team’s spirits are high, even now more than a week after that victory. The next games can’t come soon enough for the boys, coach Fred Fell said.

“They’re not used to this. Normally they’d be playing two or three times a week in the Little League season,” Fell said. “Now we have weeks off all of a sudden.”

Keeping the focus is key, he added. To do that, the team has preached the same fundamentals that have carried them this far: pitching and defense.

To make its way into the matchup with Pendleton, Scappoose had to first win the District 1 championship. The winner of Saturday’s meeting between the two will then play in the late game on Sunday. The opponent for that contest won’t be determined until Saturday but Bend North has the best chance of finding itself there. The winners from District 5, Hermiston’s home district, get a bye round until Saturday, playing the winner of Medford National/Sprague.

If Pendleton were to lose its first game, the team will take the more difficult road through the loser’s bracket. Two losses make an elimination so any room for error will have disappeared.

The tournament will run through at least Thursday, July 19, but could go an extra day if the loser’s bracket champion knocks off the winner’s bracket representative in the final game on July 19. The loser’s bracket team would need to win twice to complete the double elimination.

The title games are slated for 5 p.m. on those days.

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The Pendleton 10/11-year-olds aren’t the only Round-Up City baseball players still trying to advance. The 11/12-year-olds are playing in Gresham this weekend at their state tournament, hosted by Centennial Little League. Pendleton beat La Grande 8-7 on Thursday, July 5, in Adams to advance out of District 3.

On the girls’ side, Pendleton’s 9/10-year-olds and 10/11-year-olds are each going to Enterprise for state action. The younger girls start their tournament today while the elders don’t have their first game until Saturday.

Pendleton beat Milton-Freewater 12-1 in Pilot Rock on Wednesday, June 27, in the District 3 championship. Just days earlier on Sunday, June 22, Pendleton beat Wallowa Valley for the second time in two days 23-19 in the title bout. The locals scored eight runs in the eighth inning to hang on in the District 3 shootout. Both games were contested in Pilot Rock.

Also starting today in Eugene, two local softball teams will compete for state titles in the Juniors division. Triangle — a team composed of girls from Athena, Weston and Helix — had to beat Pilot Rock twice in Pilot Rock on Monday, June 27, to win District 3. Triangle will be joined by the District 5 winner Columbia team, made up of Umatilla and Irrigon girls.

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