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Tigard/TC battles hard in World Series loss to Georgia

The powerful Southeast champ gets an 11-0 win


Photo Credit: DAN BROOD - ALWAYS SMILING -- Tigard/TC shortstop Bella Valdes waves to a fan in the grandstands during Friday's game at the Little League Softball World Series.PORTLAND — The World Series.

Just as the name applies, the event features some of the best teams in the world.

The Tigard/Tualatin City Little League Majors (ages 11-12) all-star softball team sure seemed to run into such a squad on Tuesday when it faced the Southeast region champion Pioneer Little League, from Columbus, Ga.

The Southeast squad certainly seemed to have a lot going for it — stifling pitching, a powerful offensive attack and solid defense.

Photo Credit: DAN BROOD - HERE WE GO -- The Tigard/Tualatin City team shows its enthusiasm during the pregame introductions prior to Friday's Little League Softball World Series game.Tigard/Tualatin City, meanwhile, showed off some redeeming qualities of its own — persistency, strong (and loud) team support and the team's seemingly never-ending hustle.

And, while the Southeast squad came out on top, winning 11-0 in four innings in the Little League Softball World Series pool play game played Friday at Alpenrose Stadium, the Tigard/TC team seemed to show off its determination right to the very end.

“We never give up,” Tigard/Tualatin City third baseman Brooke Clinton said after the game.

“Our attitude is all we can control,” Tigard/TC outfielder Kendra Zuckerman said. “That kept us going.”

Photo Credit: DAN BROOD - SLIDING HARD -- Georgia's Alyana Taylor (3), in front of Tigard/TC shortstop Bella Valdes, slides hard to second base in the first inning of Friday's World Series game.“Our motto is attitude and effort,” Tigard/TC shortstop Bella Valdes said. “That's what we can control. They were a good team, but we fought to the end.”

For the Georgia team, the win came in its first game in World Series action.

“They're a legit team,” Tigard/Tualatin City manager Chris Cordts said. “They have a chance to win it all.”

With the setback, Tigard/Tualatin City, representing Oregon District 4, moved to 0-2 in Pool A games in World Series play.

“It was one of those games,” Cordts said. “If you play your game, and a team beats you, all you can do is tip your cap. They were really good.”

They certainly seemed to be.

The Georgia team got an overpower performance from pitcher Ralee Weaver, who threw a no-hitter while striking out eight and walking one in her four innings in the circle.

Photo Credit: DAN BROOD - BEHIND THE PLATE -- Tigard/TC catcher Alexis Klum grabs the pitch with Georgia's Ralee Weaver at the plate.“They're a good team and their pitching is really good,” Zuckerman said. “It was good for us to see pitching like that.”

The talented Southeast team also showed off its hitting skills right from the start of Friday's game.

The Georgia squad got an RBI single from clean-up hitter Jada Chadwick in the top of the first inning and then doubles from both Alyana Taylor and Kamdyn Fuller in the second inning, as it sprinted out to a quick 7-0 lead.

Despite the early deficit, Tigard/Tualatin City seemed to keep up its intensity, especially on defense.

In the top of the third inning, Tigard/TC's Tia Cordts made an inning-ending catch of a fly ball deep in right field, likely saving a pair of runs. Right before that play, Tigard/TC pitcher Elizabeth Hillier snagged a hard-hit line drive by Cydnee Harrison, again likely saving a pair of runs.Photo Credit: DAN BROOD - I GOT IT -- Tigard/TC second baseman Logan Mentzer catches a fly ball in Friday's game.

The Georgia team did score four runs in the top of the fourth inning, but the frame ended with Tigard/TC catcher Alexis Klum throwing out Jillian Holloway at second, with Tigard/TC second baseman Logan Mentzer making the tag on the play.

Going into the bottom of the fourth inning, Tigard/Tualatin City was facing an 11-0 deficit, plus, the team was looking to get its first base runner of the contest, as Weaver had a perfect game going to that point.

But, at that point, the cheering coming out of the Tigard/TC dugout seemed to be louder than ever.

“That's the reason why we do good,” Clinton said of the cheering. “If we keep our energy up, good things happen.”

Valdes, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Thursday's World Series opener, but came back remarkably strong in Friday's game, stepped to the plate with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning.

After starting her at-bat by going 0-2, Valdes fouled off pitch after pitch before drawing a walk on a 3-2 delivery, making her Tigard/TC's first base runner of the contest.

Photo Credit: DAN BROOD - YOU'RE OUT -- Tigard/TC first baseman Emily Harms (12) grabs the ball while Southeast's Samantha Cotton sprints to the bag.“I wasn't going to get out,” Valdes said. “I had confidence at the plate.”

Following Valdes' walk, Klum, hitting a ground ball to the left side, reached first base on a Georgia throwing error, although, it seemed as if the ruling on the play easily could have gone as an infield single.

The hustling Valdes, showing the team's trademark aggressiveness on the base paths, tried to score on the play, but she was thrown out at home plate on the play. Klum was then thrown out at second trying to advance on the play, ending the contest.

“Like all year, all we can control is our attitude and effort,” Chris Cordts said. “And the girls played hard right to the end. It was good to finally get some base runners.”

Hillier, with a bulldog-like effort in the pitcher's circle, gave up just three earned runs in her four innings of work.

Photo Credit: DAN BROOD - NICE TRY -- Tigard/TC's Carly Atwood (right) greets teammate Alexis Klum following the final play of Friday's game at the Little League Softball World Series.For the Georgia offense, Chadwick went 3 for 3 at the plate with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs. Taylor added a pair of hits and two runs scored and Fuller drove in a pair of runs.

Tigard/Tualatin City will be back in action Saturday when it faces Prague Little League, from Prague, Czech Republic, in a pool play game set to start at 4 p.m. at Alpenrose.

“I'm really excited for tomorrow,” Clinton said. “I'm excited to play a foreign team.”

“I'm looking forward to it,” Valdes said. “I'm excited to meet some new girls.”

Prague, the Europe-Africa champion, is 0-2 in Little League Softball World Series play.

Photo Credit: DAN BROOD - MAKING CONTACT -- Tigard/TC's Bella Valdes hits a foul ball in the first inning of Friday's Little League Softball World Series game.The Southeast team will be back in action Saturday when it faces ASOFEM Little League, from Manunabo, Puerto Rico, in a pool play game starting at 1 p.m.

For more on this game, and Tigard/Tualatin City's other Little League Softball World Series games, see the Aug. 14 issue of The Tigard/Tualatin Times.