The all-star softball team now moves on to play in the state tourney

by: DAN BROOD - THE CHAMPS ARE HERE -- Players and coaches for the Tigard Little League ages 9-10 all-star softball team gather around the District 4 championship banner following the team's victory over Southwest Portland. PORTLAND — Kaylee Mo was crying.

She wasn’t sad. She wasn’t mad.

She was overjoyed.

And she was a champion.

So were all of her teammates on the Tigard Little League ages 9-10 all-star softball team.

Tigard claimed the District 4 championship after besting previously unbeaten Southwest Portland 14-9 in the district tournament championship game, played Tuesday at Alpenrose Stadium.

“I was crying,” Mo said after the game. “But I was happy. They were happy tears. All of our hard work paid off.”

“This means we’re the best of the best,” Tigard’s Abby Soderquist said.

With the district championship, Tigard advances to play in the Oregon State Tournament, which starts Friday in Scappoose.

“We’re really excited for state,” Tigard’s Riley White said.

“We want to win big,” Soderquist added.

“These girls are pumped up and ready for state,” Tigard manager Steven Dardis said. “The goal is to take it all.”

While the Tigard team has its sights set on the state championship, it first had to get by a Southwest Portland squad in the district title contest. The two teams met earlier in the tournament, in pool play, with Southwest Portland getting a 17-16 win.

And, in Tuesday’s title-game rematch, Southwest Portland jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

But the determined Tigard squad answered back — in a very big way — in the bottom of the frame.

White singled to left field to lead off the bottom of the first inning, and she advanced all the way to third base on a throwing error on the play.

Kaitlyn Gearin followed with a single down the left-field line, driving in White to cut the lead to 2-1. Alexa VanderSommen and Taylor Corcoran then came up with back-to-back singles, with Gearin scoring on Corcoran’s hit to tie the game at 2-2.

Tigard didn’t stop there.

Tigard took a 3-2 lead when VanderSommen scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Emilie Otto.

by: DAN BROOD - WE DID IT -- Members of the Tigard Little League ages 9-10 softball all-star team celebrate following their 14-9 victory over Southwest Portland in Tuesday's District 4 tournament championship game. Grace Nelson then singled in both Victoria Vanderburg and Otto to up the lead to 5-2.

Mo scored on a bunt by Soderquist, Nelson scored on an infield single by White, who eventually scored on an error to cap off the big first inning and give Tigard an 8-2 lead.

“We were pumped up,” Soderquist said of the big first inning.

“We were excited to win,” Nelson added.

“The first time we played them, it went back and forth all game,” Dardis said. “Tonight, we thought we’d have a good chance if we started strong.”

Southwest Portland, getting an RBI double by Kaija Shreeve, scored a pair of runs in the top of the second inning to make the score 8-4.

But Tigard answered back again.

Emily Torres drew a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the second and she ended up scoring when White drew a bases-loaded walk. Mo then scored on a groundout by Gearin to give Tigard a 10-4 advantage.

Tigard got another run in the bottom of the third inning, when Mo scored on a single by Nelson, to take an 11-5 lead.

But Southwest Portland came storming back in the top of the fourth getting, getting four runs in the frame to cut the lead to 11-9. But that didn’t seem to bother the Tigard squad.

“We believed in ourselves,” Mo said.

“We had panic, then reassurance,” Soderquist said.

Tigard got a two-run single by Vanderburg in the bottom of the fourth, with Gearin and Torres scoring on the hit, to push the lead to 13-9.

Then, after shutting down Southwest Portland in the top of the fifth inning, Tigard got a run in the bottom of the frame, when Sophia VanderSommen scored on an error to up the margin to 14-9 going into the final inning.

Southwest Portland got a two-out single in the top of the sixth inning, but Corcoran, pitching in relief for Tigard, coaxed a game-ending groundout to wrap up the district championship and ignite Tigard’s celebration.

“That’s when I started crying,” Mo said with a smile.

“We played well as a team,” Nelson said.

“We worked hard,” White said.

“We worked like champions,” Mo added.

Tigard, as a team, had 13 base hits in the title-game victory.

Mo went 3 for 3 at the plate with a stolen base and three runs scored. Nelson went 2 for 3 with a run scored and three RBIs. Corcoran went 2 for 3 with an RBI, White went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and a stolen base and Alexa VanderSommen went 2 for 3 with a stolen base and a run scored. Gearin and Vanderburg added one hit apiece.

Vanderburg and Corcoran pitched for Tigard in the victory. Tigard also played strong defense throughout the contest.

“Our defense was really good,” Dardis said. “And the girls put in a lot of hard work.”

The Tigard team also includes Elli Dardis, who missed the championship game due to injury.

Mark Corcoran and Bill Gearin are coaches with the team.

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