The Tualatin City Major All-Stars place eighth after falling 6-0 to the Philippines, but the team is satisfied and made some great memories

PORTLAND — Getting few of the breaks on close plays that it did in a thrilling 6-5 comeback victory over Puerto Rico in the final game of pool play two days prior, the Tualatin City Major All-Stars couldn’t muster any momentum against the Phillipines and lost 6-0 in the seventh-place game Aug. 14 at the Little League Softball World Series at Alpenrose Stadium. by: SETH GORDON - Strong armed - Third baseman Noelle Sawyer fires to first base from her knee after fielding a bunt in the Little League Softball World Series seventh-place match Aug. 14 at Alpenrose Stadium in Portland. Like many of the close plays in the 6-0 loss to the Philippines, the call went against Tualatin City and the runner was ruled safe.

The team, which includes five players from Newberg Little League, mustered just one hit against starting pitcher Royeve Langga Palma, who went the distance, striking out 11.

“It just wasn’t our day, particularly offensively,” assistant coach Kevin Potter said. “The bats just weren’t there (that) morning, kind of the way we started the series. It’s kind of fitting, but definitely their pitcher was hittable.”

Newberg third baseman Noelle Sawyer collected the only hit, a bloop single in the bottom of the second, for Tualatin City, which reached base just one other time on a catcher interference call. Maddie DeVerna, also of Newberg, was robbed of a single to lead off the bottom of the first thanks to a stellar catch by the Philippines’ second basemen.

Tualatin City endured several close plays that all seemed to fall in favor of their opponents, but most of them came on the defensive side of the ball, including a dropped tag at home plate, a tight play where Sawyer fielded a bunt and fired from one knee to first base, and a play where Lindsay Stadick just missed catching a pop-up bunt, then narrowly missed tagging the runner out along the first base line.

Another play involving Stadick typified Tualatin City’s morning, as the first baseman snagged a low line drive, but saw the ball pop out of her glove as she raised it to show the catch. While Stadick could not locate the ball, DeVerna charged in to collect it only to see it hit off the top of Stadick’s head and roll out of reach, eliminating any chance of a play at first.

“It seemed like the ball was definitely bouncing their way,” Potter said. “That happens.”

After finishing 2-2 in pool play, Tualatin City had expected to be playing for fifth place, but when Puerto Rico topped Elyria, Ohio, in their final game of pool play, it forced a three-way tie that was broken by runs allowed, putting Puerto Rico in the semifinals and Elyria into the fifth-place game. Potter said he didn’t believe that made a difference to the players because after missing out on the semifinals they were playing mostly for pride anyway.

CheyAnn Lang and Samantha Teran echoed that sentiment, saying that the best part of the experience was battling their way into and through the tournament, and that the closing loss would not sour what was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“They had fun,” Potter said. “It doesn’t matter where we finished, it matters that we got here. They had a blast being here and it’s something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”

The Tualatin City team, including fellow Newberg player and hero of the Puerto Rico game Kendra Gooding, also had the unique opportunity to play three different teams from outside the United States – Italy was the third — during the tournament.

“I think it was really fun and cool,” DeVerna said. “I’ve never really thought of it, but probably most of us are never going to do that again, so it was a great thing to do. Most kids at school don’t even get to meet kids from other countries.”

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