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.



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