The Lake Oswego Little League Majors baseball team is alive and well and headed to regionals.
Lake Oswego, which earlier won the District 4 championship, won four straight games to take the championship at the Oregon State Little League Baseball tournament in Troutdale from July 24-29.
"I'm really proud of the intensity these boys bring to every game, and it is the key factor behind our success," said Lake Oswego manager Chris Kelly. "From leaving the parking lot through the end of the game, they bring their energy and are always in the game. They are never intimidated, always on the attack and continuously up on the fence cheering on their teammates."
"The team was very resilient throughout the tournament," said coach Tony Sturgeon. "We didn't let anything negative impact our mental approach and support for our teammates. Every player knew they would have an opportunity to help their team win, and when their opportunity came, they performed."
Next up, Lake Oswego will open play in the Little League Northwest Regional tournament at Al Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino, California, from Aug. 8-14. Lake Oswego opens regional play when it faces Eastlake Little League of Sammamish — the Washington state champion — at noon, Sunday, Aug. 8.
If Lake Oswego wins its opener, LO would play against the Alaska state champion — that team has yet to be determined — at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 9; if Lake Oswego loses its opener, it would play again at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10. The complete tournament schedule is available here.
"I am very proud of these boys," Kelly said. "They started working out in January, set a goal, grinded through a lot of tough games and now they are realizing the opportunity of a lifetime. It's been the highlight of the summer and I am just happy to live the experience with them."
The winner of the six-team Northwest Regional will advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, from Aug. 19-28. Other teams in the tournament include: Eastlake Little League; Alaska; West Valley Little League of Eagle, Idaho; Boulder Arrowhead Little League of Billings, Montana; and Cody Little League of Cody, Wyoming.
The Lake Oswego team includes outfielder Ellis Bayne, outfielder/infielder Ezra Carlston, catcher/outfielder/infielder Jackson Caylor, pitcher/infielder Crew Corry, outfielder Nate Cook, pitcher/outfielder/infielder Beckett Heher, pitcher/infielder Chase Kelly, pitcher/catcher/infielder Ben Robertson, outfielder Luke Smith, infielder Cole Sturgeon, pitcher/catcher/infielder Ethan Uecker, pitcher/outfielder Kell VanDehey, outfielder/infielder Ryan Warhank, manager Chris Kelly and coaches Tony Sturgeon, Brad Smith and Keith Caylor.
Lake Oswego opened the state tournament — hosted by Reynolds Little League — with a 7-1 win over Corvallis on July 24. Next came a 10-0 shutout of Hollywood Rose City on July 25. Lake Oswego made it three straight by beating Medford American 11-1 in the July 27 semifinals, then beat Hollywood Rose City again — this time by a 6-2 margin — in the July 29 tournament championship.
In the final, Rose City led 1-0 after the first inning and was still tied 2-2 after four, but Lake Oswego took over down the stretch. LO scored twice in the top of the fifth to lead 4-2, then tacked on two more runs in the top of the sixth to fuel its 6-2 victory.
Chase Kelly started the game and pitched his team into the fourth inning, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and four walks while striking out five, then gave way to Uecker for the final 2 1/3 frames. Uecker closed out the game by allowing no runs on no hits and two walks while striking out three.
Offensively, Robertson went 2 for 2 at the plate with one RBI and two runs scored, while Uecker went 0 for 3 but drove in two runs. Bayne, Caylor, Heher and Sturgeon added hits in the victory, while Corry and Heher had one RBI apiece.
"We've played a lot of baseball games since April and there's no doubt in my mind that pitching and defense are what we do best," Chris Kelly added. "We've got a lot of guys who attack the strike zone and have effective secondary pitches. When you couple that with an outstanding defense that doesn't make physical or mental mistakes, you can have a lot of success."
Thus far, Lake Oswego is 9-0 and has outscored its opposition 82-8.
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