Saturday, July 29, 2006


On his 11th birthday, Matthew K. stole home in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the 9/10 All-Stars from SunCreek LL the State Championship over District 2 representative Reynolds LL this morning in Adams, Oregon. The teams needed an extra inning of baseball to decide the winner, with home-team SunCreek coming out on top in dramatic fashion, 6-5.

Starting pitcher Zach L. held Reynolds hitless in the top of the 1st inning, striking out two. SunCreek continued their streak of scoring in the first inning when Jason S. singled and later stole home on a passed ball. End of 1st inning, 1-0.

In the top of the 2nd inning, three-up, three-down, as Zach L. recorded two more strikeouts and a ground out to Jason at second base. SunCreek's Kyle C. was left stranded on the bases in the bottom half of the inning after a leadoff walk. End of 2nd inning, 1-0.

Zach L. recorded two more strike-outs in the top of the 3rd inning and Reynolds was again scoreless. SunCreek put another run on the board when Matthew stole home on a passed ball after getting on base with an infield single. Paul B. stroked a long fly ball to leftfield, but it was caught for the third out of the inning. End of three innings, 2-0, SunCreek LL leading.

Reynolds got on the board in the top of the fourth inning in spite of catcher Jake N. recording TWO pop outs! Two singles and an error in the inning allowed Justin D. to cross home-plate for the District 2 champs. In SunCreek's at-bats, Zach L. led off with a single between 1st and 2nd base. Adam J. stroked a single up the middle, and Cole H. singled to score Kyle C. who was pinch-running for Zach L. Adam stole home on a passed ball and at the end of four innings, 4-1, SunCreek.

In the top of the fifth inning, Reynolds tied the game with three runs, starting with a triple to left field. After a great catch by Evan I., three straight singles brought the score to 4-4. The Reynolds pitcher, Grady W. then proceeded to strike out all three SunCreek hitters. End of five innings, 4-4.

The quick sixth inning, with tight defense and strong pitching on both sides, ended the game in a 4-4 tie.

In the seventh inning, Jason S. came on to pitch for SunCreek. After getting the first batter to ground out and the second batter to strike out, two walks and a single gave Reynolds the go-ahead run. Jake N. recorded the third out with a tough throw to first base after fielding a dribbler in front of the plate.

Reynolds brought in their new pitcher, lefthander Abraham B., in the bottom of the seventh inning. Zach G. walked and Matthew K's beautiful bunt, and subsequent Reynolds overthrow, allowed Zach G. to score the tying run. Jason also bunted safe and moved Matthew to third. With Mitch M. in the batters box, Matthew raced home on a passed ball and gave SunCreek LL its first State Championship!

Congratulations to the team, coaches and parents who enjoyed a week-long tournament in the Pendleton area and came out undefeated! Great job, boys!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Great Pix from Semi-Final Game

SunCreek prepares in the home-team dugout in the State Tournament semi-final game Thursday.

The team, parents, and fans gather 'round the "Welcome to Adams" sign right off of Main Street and across from the ballpark in Adams, Oregon.

photos courtesy of Peter Hisey

Summary of SunCreek LL's Semi-Final Game

With the temperature dropping 10 degrees from Sunday, and following a surprise Birthday Barbeque for Coach Pete McConnell Wednesday night, the SunCreek LL 9/10 All-Star team continued their unprecedented run through the State Tournament by beating Pendleton LL 13-3. Thursday's game began at 11:50am with no breeze and the thermometer reading 95 degrees in Adams, Oregon, about 15 miles northeast of Pendleton.

The team's rendition of "Happy Birthday" (complete with Cha-Cha-Cha's) must have provided good luck as Coach McConnell won the coin-toss and SunCreek took the field as home team. Starting pitcher, Kevin L., and his defense forced three straight ground-outs in the top of the 1st inning. Kevin helped his cause with an RBI single scoring Matthew K. to give SunCreek a 1-0 lead. Kyle C.'s fly to right field scored Jason S. and Kevin, making it 3-0. Paul B. smashed one to centerfield scoring Kyle and making it 4-0. The Pendleton first baseman made a diving catch to retire the side. At the end of one inning, 4-0, SunCreek leading.

In the top of the 2nd, Pendleton sent three batters to the plate and SunCreek recorded three straight outs. Matthew walked to start the offense, and Pendleton pulled their starting pitcher and put in #15 Boots Pond, the hometown favorite. He held them scoreless. At the end of two innings, 4-0.

Pendleton got on the board with three runs in the top of the third inning, while SunCreek was again held scoreless. At the end of three innings, 4-3.

In the fourth inning, with SunCreek facing its closest score in the tournament so far, the defense recorded two outs and Boots was at the plate. Coach Pete conferenced with Kevin, and Boots flew out to Adam J. for the third out. Matthew laid down a beautiful bunt to move Zach G. to third base to start the bottom of the third inning. Following defensive errors, the bases were loaded and Pendleton walked two in, making the score 6-3. Jason and Kevin stole home, 8-3. Mitch T. then records an RBI with a hit in the 1st/2nd-base gap. Adam and Kyle scored to end the fourth inning with the score 11-3.

The top of the 5th begins with Mitch T. making the first out to Mitch M. at first base. The second and third batters also grounded out to quickly bring the SunCreek side back up to the plate. Kevin ripped a shot down the third base line to score the 12th run. Mitch T. bunted home pinch-runner Zach G. to end the game 13-3 due to the 10-run mercy rule! SunCreek LL advances to the State Championship Saturday, July 29, 9am, to take on the winner of the Pendleton LL/Reynolds LL game.

SunCreek LL wins again!

The SunCreek LL 9/10 All-Stars won their third State Tournament game today, 13-3 after five innings.

SunCreek will play for the State Championship on Saturday, July 29, 9am, Adams, Oregon.

Unfortunately, we are not in Pendleton (right now!), but will have some highlights later.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More Pix from Pendleton

Good luck, SunCreek LL versus Pendleton LL, 11:30am, July 27!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

SunCreek LL wins second game at State!

Pitcher Jason Stofiel recorded seven strike-outs and with strong defense behind him, the SunCreek LL 9/10 All-Stars won their second game at the State tournament, 6-4 over Medford American LL (District 6).

SunCreek scored in the top of the 1st inning when Kevin L. singled in Matthew K. who had walked and moved to second following Jason S.'s base on balls. Mitch M. then singled to rightfield to score Jason, and Zach L. continued with a single between Medford's 1st and 2nd basemen, scoring Kevin and Mitch. Zach G., Matthew and Mitch then held Medford's batters in check by executing ground outs from second base, shortstop, and first base. After one inning, 4-0.

Though Zach G. led off the top of the 2nd with a single, he was thrown out at 3rd when Jason hit into a Fielder's Choice. He had the only hit of the inning, as the next three Medford batters were kept off base with help from Zach G.'s diving catch at second base.

Medford got onto the scoreboard with two outs in the bottom of the 3rd inning after their lead-off batter singled, stole second, and scored on Kyle P.'s single. But Mitch emphatically recorded the third out of the inning when he fielded a sharp grounder at first, scrambled over to the bag, and slammed the ball onto the base with his bare hand! After three innings, 4-1.

Zach G. again led off the inning, legging out a grounder to second and stealing over to third base. Jason singled to right/center and Zach G. raced home. Jason then struck out the first Medford batter of the inning, and grounders from Ryan R. and Isiah L. were thrown out at first. After four innings, 5-1

Zach L smacked a fly ball over the rightfielder's head to lead off the top of the fifth inning. Kevin came into pinch-run and scored on Mitch T.'s ground out. Medford battled back in the bottom of the inning -- a lead-off walk and two singles scored their second and third runs of the game. But Jason recorded two strikeouts in the inning to check the rally. After five innings, 6-3.

Three up, three down in the top of the sixth put SunCreek's defense back onto the field to hold 'em for the win. Jason struck out the first batter, Ryan R. Then, after a bloop single over his head, he struck out the number three batter, Jack S. When Branson T. singled to score Isaiah L, the Medford fans were roaring for a two-out rally. New Pitcher Kevin L., then threw one pitch to get Kyle P. to ground out, and the game was over. Final score, 6-4!

SunCreek LL plays again on Thursday, July 27, at 11:30am, versus the winner of the Pendleton/Hermiston matchup.

Monday, July 24, 2006

More from the 9/10 State Tournament

Game #1: Beating the Heat in Adams, Oregon.

The SunCreek LL 9/10 All-Stars enjoyed a break from the competition today thanks to their win over Emerald Valley East LL on Sunday, 16-1. So, many of the kids went to the Aquatic Center, while others took one of the Underground Tours in downtown Pendleton.

After swimming, some of the folks headed out to the field in Adams to cheer on the 10/11 All-Star team from Murrayhill LL, our fellow District 4 representatives. It was 103 this afternoon, but the tournament volunteers are doing all they can to make it as pleasant experience as possible: bleacher areas are covered, the dugouts have misting hoses (see the above picture), there are kids walking around selling bottled water, and there is fresh-cut, ice cold, Hermiston watermelon, 3 quarter-slices in a bag for a buck.

The team's next game is tomorrow at 11:30am versus Medford American, up over the hill in Adams. Coming from the Wildhorse "Resort," you just take a right onto the highway heading to Walla Walla. If you get to Athena, you've gone too far...

We'll be at the game, then heading home, so I might not have an update for several hours. Please check the SunCreek LL website for results.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Suncreek LL 9/10's Win State Tourney Opener

We made it to the 9/10 LL Oregon State Tournament in Adams, Oregon!

The SunCreek LL team endured a power outage at their hotel last night and still managed a first-game win over Emerald Valley East (EVE) LL of Eugene (District 9), 16-1. Their next game is Tuesday, July 25, at 11:30am against the winner of today's matchup between Medford American LL (District 6) and Parrish LL (District 7, Salem area).

Here is a choppy game summary, interesting mostly to the families of our players :)

When the game began at 9am, the temperature on our car thermometer read 94 degrees. Zach L. started on the mound for SunCreek and held EVE scoreless. In the bottom half of the inning, Matthew K. singled to get the offense going. He later scored SunCreek's first ever State Tournament run when Kevin L. knocked him in with a hit up the middle. Mitch M. also singled, moving Jason S. over and loading the bases. Pitcher Zach L. singled, scoring Jason, Kyle C. walked, scoring Kevin and the SunCreek All-Stars went up 3-0.

Zach L. struck out two of the next four batters and SunCreek was up again in the bottom of the second and unleashed a barrage of hits and runs. SCLL went up 7-0 when Mitch T. singled to score Zach L who had batted in Mitch M. Matthew K and Jason had scored on passed balls and an error at home plate.

Jacob N. walked, Evan I. walked, Matthew singled (again!) to bring them around When Matthew K scored on a passed ball, it was 11-0.

Bases on Balls for Kevin, Paul B., Zach L., and Jacob, combined with Jason stealing home and Adam J.'s smash to to left/center field brought the score up to 15-0.

EVE scored one run in the top of the 3rd inning. SunCreek added one more run when Zach L. doubled home Jason. In the top of the 4th, Zach struck out two of the three batters and the third out was a grounder to 2nd fielded by Jason.

Final Score, 16-1. Temperature at 10:45am, 104 degrees.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Some Light Reading

Here are some great articles about local baseball that I loved reading:
  • Here is one about "Friends of Baseball," a group dedicated to helping youth baseball organizations through grants and assistance. The founder, Keenan Longcor, states that it was the bond with his son and the great memories on the ballfields that prompted him to set up this nonprofit organization. Their focus is "dedicated to the enrichment of youth, parents, and their relationships, through baseball."

  • This article from the Stanford Alumni magazine is actually about a local Little League coach. Notice the pictures and the team name: yep, that's Alpenrose East field! And nope, we didn't go to Stanford :)

  • A local leather-worker fashioned a great mitt for a Little Leaguer born with only two fingers on each hand, as reported by KGW.

  • And finally, can you ever get tired of stories about Oregon State University and its College World Series Champions? Here is a mention from a sports guy at the Christian Science Monitor: "I was chewing the fat with the mailman" about the Oregon State baseball team and surely, they must be kids from California. So, he does a little research... Just goes to show you what a GREAT story this is.

  • And a link to the story posted on the Snack Shack at Alpenrose about Mike Stutes (Lake Oswego LL) and Darwin Barney (Murrayhill LL), who faced each other in District 4 Little League competition BEFORE they became College World Series champs at OSU!

Enjoy! And safe travels to those beginning tournament play, ending tournaments, heading for vacation, and heading to Home Depot to begin house projects put off since are ALL in my thoughts today!

Friday, July 21, 2006

9/10 All-Stars State Tourney Info

Just a quick update to let you know that the game schedule for Suncreek LL's 9/10 All-Stars at the State Tournament in Adams, Oregon, has been posted at the Suncreek Little League website (just click on the "postseason" tab from the main website).

Thank you to Barb and Erik for getting this info out!

Back-to-School: JUST SAY NO

The lazy days of summer are upon us, which means lots of baseball and softball news:
  • Murrayhill 11/12 All-Stars march to San Bernadino, through the Oregon State tournament in Ashland, is featured on the front page today
  • Also, a small feature on the State 11/12 LL Softball tournament
  • Suncreek LL's 11/12 All-Star game versus Beaverton Area LL written up in the Beaverton Valley Times

The Suncreek LL 9/10 All-Stars take off today and tomorrow for the State tournament in Adams, Oregon. We will be heading out ourselves to the Wildhorse Casino Resort to cheer on our league's first District 4 champion. While the northwest news is focusing on the TRIPLE DIGIT HEAT coming in the next few days, many families are retreating to the coast for cooler temperatures. Wimps. As my niece would say, "HELLO. It's summer!"

We'll all be headed out to Pendleton through the warmest place in the state (The Dalles) and straight to a new Field of Dreams. However, many of the kids will need to pick up football equipment on Saturday a.m. on the way out I-84, but we're not talking back-to-school right now :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Oregon District 4 Wrap-Up

I have been spending hours trying to track down Little League Oregon State tournament websites. I have some links, but have to admit that some leagues/districts are better about updating and maintaining a website than others...

District 4 Baseball:

Little League (11/12) All-Stars Champions: Murrayhill Little League

State tournament hosted by District 6 in Ashland, Oregon. Here is a link with some info, thanks to the good people of District 9 ("Oregon's newest Little League District").

10/11 All-Stars Champions: Murrayhill Little League

State tournament hosted by District 3, Triangle LL in Adams, Oregon.

9/10 All-Stars Champions: SunCreek Little League

State tournament also hosted by District 3 in Adams, Oregon. District 9 has posted the only bracket/schedule information I could find at this link.

This is SunCreek's first visit to State!

District 4 Softball:

Little League (11/12) All-Stars Champions:

Tournament not yet played (begins July 24). Here is a link to the bracket. PLEASE NOTE: The winner of this tournament receives an automatic bid to the Little League Softball World Series at Alpenrose, August 10-16, with the semi-finals and finals televised LIVE on ESPN. The winner of District 4 does not go to State or Regionals, but instead goes directly to the LLSBWS.

10/11 All-Star Champions: Cedar Mill Little League

9/10 All-Star Champions: Beaverton Area Little League

Both teams are competing in the State tournament hosted by District 4 at Alpenrose. Here is a link to the 9/10 Bracket. I couldn't find a link to the 10/11 bracket -- email me if you can help.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Today's Game

The SunCreek LL 11/12 All-Stars will finish the District 4 tournament today at 1:30pm versus Raleigh Hills LL on the main field at Alpenrose. SCLL finished as the third-place team from Group A after losing to Tigard LL yesterday, 12-3.

Come on out and cheer for the boys as they compete in their final game at Alpenrose. The boys have represented SunCreek LL well, with character and great moments on the ballfield.

See ya at Alpenrose!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Two games and two ambulances

Little League All-Stars are announced June 15 all around the world. The first game is circled on the calendar and then the practices begin. The SunCreek LL Majors All-Stars have been practicing for about a month in preparation for three games in the District 4 tournament and with luck AND skill, continuing on to Williamsport via Ashland, Oregon, and "San Berdoo."

But in an instance, the calendar and the competition are forgotten and suddenly we are sitting in the bleachers watching 11 and 12 year old boys and ambulances pull into Alpenrose, even right onto the Main Field diamond.

Last night, SCLL pitcher Nick collapsed on the mound in the 5th inning, grabbing the back of his neck and laying still while adults ran out with ice and blankets. The game was put on hold while the ambulance drove right onto the field and once again, the SCLL boys watched as a teammate was put on a stretcher and taken to a local hospital.

I am happy to tell you that Nick is doing fine after suffering from heat exhaustion -- he was treated and released last night. (a League update can be found here) He will be at the SCLL vs. Tigard LL game today at 12:30pm on Alpenrose main.

Teammate Nate watched the game last night from the dugout with his arm in sling. Also looking on last night was a good portion of SunCreek's District 4 Champion 9/10 All-Stars and their parents, as well as regular-season coaches, little brothers, grandparents and fans, all supporting the kids playing baseball and supporting each other.

Today, let's play ball and pray for a healthy, injury-free game for all the teams.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Some More Pix of Alpenrose

Sun sets on the Main Field as Beaverton Area LL takes the lead over Sun Creek LL.

Young drivers were practicing on Alpenrose's Quarter Midget track during the baseball games.

District 4 Update

Here is a quick rundown of scores after two full days of the Majors District 4 Baseball Tournament:

July 13, 2006

Game #1: Cedar Mill LL 6, Forest Grove LL 9
Game #2: Lake Oswego LL 0, Sun Creek LL 1
Game #3: Tigard LL 8, Beaverton Area LL 6
Game #4: Murrayhill LL 7, Raleigh Hills LL 0

July 14, 2006

Game #5: Tigard 4, Lake Oswego 12
Game #6: Forest Grove 11, Raleigh Hills 8
Game #7: Cedar Mill 3, Murrayhill 9
Game #8: Beaverton Area 11, Sun Creek 2

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Why Alpenrose Rocks!

Major Baseball District 4 Tournament

The Kimball's Honda Element

District 4's Major Baseball tournament finally began at Alpenrose tonight. All eight teams were in action.

SunCreek LL faced Lake Oswego LL on the West Diamond at 5:45pm. At 5:15, I spotted an antsy SCLL player fidgeting as our equipment manager and his mother were sewing a new button on his jersey! Was this a sign of things to come?

A pitching duel was broken up by our own Nick R. as he jacked a solo homerun over the right-center fence (and smashing it into the white dairy building), scoring our only run. SCLL won, 1-0.

However, the win came at a price. Nate S., the starting pitcher, shortstop and one of the coach's sons (along with his twin brother, Nolan), was taken away by ambulance after throwing a pitch, crumpling to the ground, and screaming in pain in the bottom of the fourth inning. Nate was pitching a masterful game -- a one-hitter. Play was halted to let the emergency crews make their way to the West field. Coach S. watched as his son and wife left in an ambulance and as the Tournament Director and coaches discussed the next move. We were up by one run, but there were runners on first and third.

Michael E., former Diamondback, and only 11-year-old on the team, took the mound. He struck out the next batter with three straight strikes, ending the inning. He proceeded to hold them hitless and we won!

It was an amazing experience. While the boys await word on their teammate, we are reminded about what is important in their lives. As Jack said tonight, "Mom, I have never seen anyone, let alone a kid, on a stretcher, in real life."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

9/10 All-Stars Win It All!

Little League volunteers come from all neighborhoods and all professions with one common goal: let's support kids playing baseball and softball. Summer All-Star season is great for, say, a school principal who might have the month of July off from work. It is a tad more challenging for, say, a Portland Police Officer assigned to SERT (Special Emergency Response Team). While the school sits quietly over the summer, with maybe the "service" calling if kids are skateboarding off the roof (has happened) or a tree has come down (also has happened), criminals "don't take a break" and it might happen that a bank robber might be loose in NE Portland right around 4:30pm on the evening when SunCreek Little League 9/10 All-Stars are playing in the District 4 Championship game versus Lake Oswego Little League.

When the "service" pages the Officer, he can't very well say "I am heading out to my son's championship Little League game tonight, and I am THE HEAD COACH," and expect too much leeway. Luckily, the Officer has made arrangements ahead of time with the Tournament Director for an emergency coach to be available in his absence, one who coached in the District and is familiar with the tournament rules, etc. He also made sure this coach had the standard Coaching Polo Shirt and an All-Star cap (just in case).

So, when Pete (Head Coach) got called out to the "Police Action" for which BREAKING NEWS cut into programming on Channel 8 (I know, because I was watching at the time), John (my husband) was (somewhat) ready to head out to Westlake Park in Lake Oswego to be the dugout coach for the championship game. Oh, did I mention, this was the Championship Game? in which a team from SunCreek has never won?

The SunCreek team came out swinging and scored two runs in the top of the 1st inning. They were on a mission to stay focused in spite of Coach Pete being off...somewhere. Jason S. pitched a six-inning, 1-run game and SunCreek won its FIRST EVER District 4 championship at any level by the score of 4-1!

During the sixth inning, a tall man began walking the perimeter beyond the outfield fence, dressed in fatigue pants and tall dark boots, and the crowd began to realize that Pete was back. The bank robber was caught without incident very early in the pursuit and Pete had been watching from the bushes since the first inning! Because the team was on a roll, and he was unsure if he could return to the dugout (and dressed like GI Joe), he hung out and looked on while his boys won the game.

John enjoyed working with the other coaches and kids, SunCreek won, and Pete actually got to enjoy the whole thing! It was a fantastic evening.

The State tournament for 9/10 All-Stars (and 10/11's, too) is being held in Athena, Oregon, starting July 22. Athena is between Milton-Freewater and Pendleton, about 4 hours from Portland straight out the Columbia River Gorge, past The Dalles and Hermiston (famous for their watermelons), and into Oregon Trail and Woolen Mill country. This is the first trip to State for SunCreek LL: Congratulations Pete McConnell, Jeff Larison, Dave Cox, and Mike Gardner plus players and families.