Tualatin City rolls to victory in the District 4 title game to earn a World Series bid

by: DAN BROOD - THE CHAMPS -- The Tualatin City Little League Majors all-star team players and coaches gather with the District 4 championship banner following their 11-0 win over Southwest Portland Little League. PORTLAND — This year, they weren’t going to let anything stand in their way.

This year, there was not going to be any heart-breaking loss.

This year, they were going to be the ones celebrating.

This year, they were going to be the team heading to the World Series.

With all of that in mind, players on the determined Tualatin City Little League Majors (ages 11-12) finally saw their dreams come true.

The Tualatin City squad earned its long-awaited trip to the Little League Softball World Series by rolling to an 11-0, four-inning win over Southwest Portland Little League in the championship game of the District 4 Tournament, held Friday at Alpenrose Stadium.

“We’re going to the World Series,” Tualatin City catcher Ella Hillier said with a big smile on her face during the team’s celebration Friday night at Alpenrose. “I’m very excited.”by: DAN BROOD - FOR THE DEFENSE -- Tualatin City shortstop Camille Hall (right) tags out Southwest Portland's Dechen Yehshopa at third base on a stolen-base attempt in Friday's game.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Lily Marshall, who was the winning pitcher in Friday’s game. “All of our hard work paid off.”

“It’s amazing. It’s unreal,” Hillier added.

“I didn’t even realize it at first,” Tualatin City shortstop Camille Hall said. “I’m still in shock.”

Tualatin City will be going to the World Series, which starts Aug. 8 at Alpenrose Stadium, as the Oregon District 4 representative.

“I can’t wait,” Marshall said.

Still, it’s been quite a wait for the Tualatin City Little League program.

TC made its last World Series appearance back in 2000.

In each of the past three years, Tualatin City has lost in the District 4 Tournament championship game, leaving the team one win away from a World Series bid.

by: DAN BROOD - SPEEDY -- Samantha Teran gets ready to round third base and score in Friday's game.TC’s most disheartening loss likely came last year, when the team held a 5-1 fifth-inning lead over Raleigh Hills/Lincoln, only to fall 6-5.

“This is a lot better than last year,” said Marshall, who, along with Hillier and Hall, were part of the 2012 Tualatin City team that was edged in the District 4 title game.

Tualatin City made sure it wouldn’t fall victim to such a comeback this year.

After Marshall and the defense shut down Southwest Portland in the top of the first inning, Tualatin City struck for five runs in the bottom of the frame.

Marshall ignited the big opening inning with a leadoff single to right field. Ella Hillier followed with a double to center field. Marshall scored on the hit to give TC a quick 1-0 lead.

The hit parade kept rolling after that.

Hall, batting in the No. 3 spot in the line-up, put down a bunt single. Hillier scored on a Southwest Portland throwing error on the play for TC’s second run of the game.

Maddie DeVerna then plated Hall with a single to right field, making the score 3-0. The speedy DeVerna then stole both second and third base and then she scored on a wild pitch to up Tualatin City’s early advantage to DAN BROOD - FUNDAMENTALS -- Tualatin City's Kendra Zuckerman puts down a bunt in the Distric 4 championship game.

Lindsay Stadick then came up with one of the big hits of the game, as she belted an inside-the-park home run, smacking the ball all the way to the fence in right-center field.

“I was really surprised,” Stadick said with a smile. “I was freaking out a bit. I didn’t know what to think. The coaches told me I could hit the ball like that, but I wasn’t sure until I did it.”

Stadick’s solo round-tripper gave Tualatin City a 5-0 lead at the end of the first inning.

TC added on two more runs in the bottom of the second inning.

Hillier singled to center field to get things started. She stole both second and third base and then scored on Hall’s single to center, upping the margin to 6-0.

With two outs in the inning, DeVerna, who reached base on a fielder’s choice grounder, scored from third base on a wild pitch to make the score 7-0.

Tualatin City then all but put the game away with a four-run third inning.

Samantha Teran was awarded first base on catcher’s interference with one out in the inning. Then, with two outs in the frame, Tualatin City came up with its own version of a triple-double. Ella Hillier, Hall and DeVerna belted consecutive RBI doubles to push the lead to 10-0.

Stadick then had her second big hit of the game, as she tripled to right field, driving in DeVerna to give Tualatin City an 11-0 cushion.

In the top of the fourth inning, with the district title and a World Series bid in site, Tualatin City stepped up again.

by: DAN BROOD - WAY TO GO -- Tualatin City third baseman Noelle Sawyer (left) congratulates pitcher Lily Marshall after a big play in Friday's game.Hillier threw out Southwest Portland’s McKenna Spencer, who was trying to steal second base after drawing a one-out walk. Then, with two outs in the frame, Marshall coaxed a grounder to Hall at shortstop. Hall made a rifle throw over to Stadick at first base for the final out of the game — signaling the start of Tualatin City’s celebration.

“I was just ecstatic,” Ella Hillier said of her emotions following the final out of the game. “We did it.”

“I was in shock,” Hall said.

“I was relived, and super happy,” Marshall said. “We all worked hard for this.”

“It was fun,” Tualatin City manager Joey Hall said. “But the big thing was seeing the kids so excited.”

Marshall, in getting the pitching victory, gave up no runs on just one hit, a third-inning single by Dechen Yehshopa, while striking out five and walking three in four innings of work.

“I worked all this year to get to the World Series,” Marshall said. “That’s a great thing for a pitcher.”

Meanwhile, Tualatin City, as a team, belted out 12 base hits in the victory.

by: DAN BROOD - WE DID IT -- Members of the Tualatin City Little League team celebrate following their District 4 tourney title win.Ella Hillier went 3 for 3 at the plate with two doubles, three runs scored, two RBIs and two stolen bases. Stadick went 2 for 3 with a triple, a home run, two runs scored and an RBI. Camille Hall went 3 for 3 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs. DeVerna went 2 for 3 with a double, three runs scored, two RBIs and three stolen bases. Marshall and Kendra Gooding added one hit apiece.

“We all lifted each other up,” Ella Hillier said of the hitting.

TC also was solid on defense, playing errorless ball while having Ella Hillier throw out a pair of would-be base-stealers.

But, while Tualatin City shined when it came to pitching, hitting and defense, the girls insist there were other aspects to the team’s success.

“We all really get along,” Camille Hall said. “We all support each other. And our motto this season is ‘effort and attitude.’”

And there was the constant cheering.

“Elizabeth (Hillier) said that if everyone’s throat wasn’t hurting at the end of the game because of cheering, then we did something wrong,” Ella Hillier said.

Tualatin City earned its spot in the District 4 Tournament championship game by scoring a 13-0 win over Forest Grove in last Thursday’s tourney semifinal game played at Alpenrose. TC finished tourney pool play on July 17 with a 12-0 win over Forest Grove.

For the tourney, Tualatin City went 5-0, outscoring its opponents by a margin of 60-10.

Tualatin City’s roster includes Savannah Braun, Maddie DeVerna, Kendra Gooding, Camille Hall, Elizabeth Hillier, Ella Hillier, CheyAnn Lang, Lily Marshall, Noelle Sawyer, Lindsay Stadick, Samantha Teran and Kendra Zuckerman.

Joey Hall is the team’s manager, with coaches Cyndy Hillier and Kevin Potter.

Tualatin City will open play at the Little League Softball World Series Aug. 8 when it faces the Central Regional champion in a pool play game, starting at 10 a.m., at Alpenrose.

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