The Cavaliers go 4-2 at the Junior American county tournament, playing six games in three days, and earning runner-up honors

by: SUBMITTED - Weary, but proud, Clackamas Junior Americans pose with their second-place hardware from the 2014 Clackamas County Junior Baseball Junior American Championship Baseball Tournament. Pictured are: (kneeling, from left) Kadin Miller, Jackson Dorn, Brayden Larson and Jeff White; (second row) Ethan Secor, Will Curran, Anthony Redman, Garrett Vass, Spencer Olson, Jaxon Shaw, Connor Linn, Riley Harmier and Jack Artman; and (back) coach Ray Larson, head coach Brad Linn and coach Jeff Dorn.The 2014 Clackamas County Junior Baseball Junior American County Championship Tournament will be long remembered by the 11- and 12-year-olds on Brad Linn’s Clackamas Junior American baseball team.

Seeded sixth, and with eleven of the thirteen players on the team age 11, Linn’s Cavaliers weren’t expected to do much in the tournament. But they played their hearts out, through 95-degree heat and game-delaying thunderstorms, and they captured second place in the tournament, winning four of six games, played over a span of just three days.

“We ran out of pitching or we might have won the title,” said Linn. “We were just a play or two away [from upsetting Tualatin in the championship final].”

Tualatin teams were the young Cavaliers’ nemesis in the county tournament. The Cavaliers fell behind early and lost to Tualatin (Bittner) 10-8 in their tournament opener. They then had to battle back and win four straight games to earn a shot at Tualatin (Larrance) in the final, where they dropped a heartbreaker, 6-4.

After the 10-8 loss on Friday, July 11, the Cavaliers won three games played in sizzling hot weather on Saturday, July 12, to stay alive.

They then got up at the crack of dawn to travel to Silverton for an early morning July 13 game with Redland, which they won 6-4. With three lightning delays, it took nearly five hours to complete that game. Exhausted, and with tired arms, they then lost to Tualatin (Larrance) 6-4 in the county championship final.

“This is a great group of kids,” said Linn. “I told them at the beginning of the year I wanted them to do well in county and I’m glad they did, because it meant I’d get to spend another week with them....

“We hit the ball really well. Our pitchers weren’t overpowering, but we played great defense and got a lot of outs.”

In Saturday’s must-win games, the Cavaliers defeated Sellwood 14-4 in four innings, cross-town rival Clackamas (Degregorio) 16-9, and Milwaukie 14-12 in an extra-inning barnburner.

Will Curran hit a home run in the rout of Sellwood, his team’s only home run of the county tournament.

The win over Clackamas (Degregorio) was a huge confidence-booster. Clackamas (Degregorio) was the county tournament’s top seed, having gone 14-0 in league. Clackamas (Linn) had gone 10-6, finishing third in its league, behind Tualatin (14-1) and Milwaukie (11-5).

With the score tied at 11-11, Linn’s Cavaliers scored three runs in the top of the seventh to pull out their 14-12 win over Milwaukie. Brayden Larson, Kadin Miller, Anthony Redman, Riley Harmier and Jackson Dorn all had base hits in the game-winning three-run rally.

Vying for the Cavaliers in the tournament were: Dorn (pitcher/infield), Larson (infield), Miller (catcher), Jeff White (catcher/infield), Ethan Secor (infield/outfield), Will Curran (outfield/pitcher), Redman (outfield/pitcher), Garrett Vass (infield), Spencer Olson (outfield), Jaxon Shaw (outfield), Connor Linn (infield/pitcher), Harmier (outfield) and Jack Artman (infield).

Coach Linn praised Miller: “Kadin was the heart and sole of our late season success. He plays with a lot of grit and he set the tone for the whole team. He’s a fifth grader and he had never caught before this year. We were in dire need of a catcher and Kadin said he’d give it a try. He’s become an outstanding catcher. He does a great job blocking the ball and he doesn’t give up a lot of free passes.”

Linn’s Cavaliers were unquestionably among the best hitting Junior American baseball teams in the state. They had a team batting average of .428, led by Dorn (.656), Curran (.490), Shaw (.485), Linn (.471) and Artman (.456).

They had 482 stolen bases in 41 games, led by Artman (54), Vass (53), Dorn (51), Secor (47), Shaw (42) and White (40).

Dorn led the team with 63 hits, 46 runs scored and 26 extra-base hits; and he had 35 RBI. Curran was the team RBI leader, with 37.

Playing first base, Linn had an incredible .978 fielding percentage.

The young Cavaliers met their match at last weekend’s state tournament, bowing out with losses in two of their three games.

But there was a bright spot. They defeated county champion Tualatin (Larrance) 11-4 in their second game, avenging the loss in the county final.

Curran (3-for-3, one double), Harmier (3-for-3, two doubles), Linn (2-for-2, two doubles) and Artman (2-for-2, one double) had the hot bats, as the Cavaliers pounded out no fewer than 15 hits in the 11-4 win.

In their other state tournament games, the Cavaliers lost to McKay 6-4 and to Camas 16-11.

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