HERMISTON - The first inning of Sunday's pool play finale told the story of the game, and according to Hermiston coach Kirby Warner, the whole weekend.
Matching up evenly against The Dalles in the 14-year-old Babe Ruth North Oregon State tournament, Hermiston got things going quickly in the first frame by scoring two quick runs and loading up the bases.
Unfortunately for the young Bulldogs, they also left the bases loaded and stranded runs that could have given them the victory instead of a 6-5 loss.
"I don't know how many guys we left in Friday's game, but I know it was a lot," Warner said. "Tonight I heard 12 guys we left on base, and even after the first inning I heard the comment, 'This looks like the La Grande game.' And that's exactly what happened."
"They did jump out there right away and it looked like it might be a runaway," The Dalles coach Patrick Uraine added. "But we were able to come back and stay even with them, then hold a lead at the end."
The Dalles quickly matched Hermiston's two runs in the bottom of the second and crept out to a 6-3 lead in the third, but Hermiston bounded back in the fourth to bring the score to its final resting place.
The game was scoreless through the next three innings, though Hermiston threatened with base runners in each frame. In the seventh, Hermiston even put the potential tying run on first with an error, but Andrew Olsen took the mound for The Dalles and got the save with two strikeouts and a ground out.
"I was a little nervous," Olsen said. "I don't like coming in and relieving, but they called me so I went in trying to throw strikes."
The final play of the game was a fielder's choice which unraveled into a game of pickle between second and third base.
Booter Lewis' performance stood out for Hermiston, as the utility player he was 2 for 4 with a double, a triple, an RBI, a run scored and shut out The Dalles from the mound in the late innings.
"I think (Lewis) got a little stronger as the game went on and shut us down a little bit," Uraine said.
Angel Trujillo went 2 for 3 for The Dalles with a pair of doubles, an RBI and a run scored. He also started on the mound, striking out two in two innings.
The comeback gave Warner hope for bracket play, which starts today, though his squad will have to contend with a Pendleton team who has had good success against them.
"We had a rally there and scored a couple runs, and the guys thought, 'Hey, maybe we can win', " the coach explained. "Obviously they wanted to play Astoria, but now we've gotten Pendleton. Which is fine."
The Hermiston Pendleton game will send one team to semifinals and the other team home.
"We have a good chance, we just have to come in with the right attitude and hit the ball," Hermiston Tyler Andreason said. "We've played Pendleton in the past and they've smothered us. But I think we can take them. We need to be up more and hit the ball - stop making errors."
"We're going to have go all out," Lewis added. "If we lose we're done. They're pretty sure they're going to win, because they have before, but we're just trying to get everyone up for it."
Snake River Valley opened the day with a 18-5 victory over Union County, Tualatin beat Tri-County 13-3 and Pendleton defeated Astoria 14-4.
R H E
HERMISTON 210 200 0 - 5 0 0
THE DALLES 231 000 X - 6 0 0
Estevan Martinez, Booter Lewis (2) and Lewis, Martinez (2). Angel Trujillo, Kenny Harris (3), Dylan Davis (6), Andrew Olsen (7) and Harris, Trujillo (3). W - Trujillo. L - Martinez. S - Olsen
2B - Lewis (Hermiston); Trujillo 2, (The Dalles); 3B - Lewis (Hermiston).