Lake Oswego Majors stars fall 14-6 to New Hampshire on Tuesday
There was no quit in the Lake Oswego Majors all-stars.
The Lakers, facing New Hampshire in a Little League World Series elimination game on Tuesday, Aug. 24, fell behind by eight runs early in the contest, but Lake Oswego wasn't about to quit.
Indeed, the Lakers rallied back within two runs in the second inning and kept battling the rest of the way before finally falling 14-6 at Lamade Stadium in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The loss eliminated the Lakers from the 16-team tournament with a 1-2 record, but did little to take away from the team's once-in-a-lifetime experience. New Hampshire — which hit four home runs in the win against LO — improved to 2-1 and advanced to face Ohio at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 25, in another elimination game.
"I will remember a lot of things, like winning the two championships and hitting that grand slam at state and also the three-run home run I hit off of (Pennsylvania's Jared) Bowman," said Lake Oswego pitcher/third baseman Ben Robertson. "But I will mostly remember the people that I am around and all the people that made this dream happen."
"I'll just remember all of it," said first baseman Chase Kelly. "It was really cool hanging out with my teammates and there will never be anything like this ever again."
"It's just an incredible experience coming here," said Lake Oswego manager Chris Kelly. "What I will remember most is the journey to get here."
During the Lakers' 2021 summer journey, the team rolled to three straight wins in its District 4 championship at Cook Park in Tigard, won four straight games in its Oregon state championship in Troutdale, won three of five games to finish second at the Pacific Northwest Regional tournament in San Bernardino, California, then went 1-2 at the Little League World Series in Williamsport.
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On Tuesday, however, North Manchester-Hooksett Little League — the New England and New Hampshire champion — opened the game at a dead sprint. In the top of the first inning, New Hampshire started the game with a single from Dom LaBranche and a two-run homer to right field by Mason DeVall for a 2-0 lead.
In its half of the first, Lake Oswego's Robertson got a two-out single to center, but the next batter, Ethan Uecker, hit a blistering line drive that was snagged by New Hampshire third baseman Braden Connolly to keep the score at 2-0.
But things got worse — much, much worse — for Lake Oswego in the second inning. There, New Hampshire pounded out six consecutive hits off Robertson, with Calan Murphy and DeVall getting RBI singles, Tristan Lucier blasting a three-run homer to right and Ryson Michaud adding a run-scoring single that gave his team an 8-0 lead.
The Lakers, however, came back with six runs of their own in the bottom of the second frame, sending 11 batters to the plate and taking advantage of three walks and two hits and forcing four errors to cut New Hampshire's lead to 8-6.
Lake Oswego opened with consecutive walks to Crew Corry, Ezra Carlston and Beckett Heher off DeVall, then got an RBI single to center field from Cole Sturgeon. Then, after back-to-back strikeouts by DeVall, the Lakers broke through for five more runs.
First, New Hampshire couldn't handle Chase Kelly's ground ball to third and Carlston scored. Next, New Hampshire dropped Robertson's fly ball to right and followed with a bad throw that allowed three more runs to score. And finally, Corry singled to right to plate Robertson and cut the New Hampshire lead to 8-6.
"We just tried to tell them not to quit," Chris Kelly said in explaining his team's rally. "We've had games before where we've scored runs in bunches and baseball's a funny sport. I think we all know that. You get a couple of walks, an error here and a timely hit and the next thing you know, you've got a couple runs and you're back in the ballgame, so we really just tried to focus on not quitting and not trying to get them all at once. We just tried to chip away. That was the message and I think the kids really bought into that."
Unfortunately, Lake Oswego would not score again, while New Hampshire tacked on single runs in the third and fourth innings, and two runs each in the fifth and sixth to pull away. The Lakers wasted a leadoff single from Kell VanDehey in the third, got singles from Chase Kelly and Corry but failed to score in the fourth, loaded the bases with two outs but failed to score in the fifth, then stranded both Corry and Heher in the sixth.
Jacoby Acevedo kept Lake Oswego off the scoreboard for the game's final 3 1/3 innings to get the win, allowing no runs on four hits and four walks while striking out four.
New Hampshire, meanwhile, got a two-run homer to right from Calen Lucier in the fifth and a Ryson Michaud solo shot to right in the sixth.
"We expected every team that was here to be pretty sound fundamentally, have good pitching (and) defense," Chris Kelly said. "I probably didn't expect some of these teams to have as much pop. We gave up four home runs tonight, and normally, our pitching is pretty stout. Not our best night on the mound, but those guys could mash it."
For the game, Corry went 2 for 2 with one RBI and one run scored, Robertson was 2 for 4 with one run scored, and Sturgeon was 1 for 2 with one RBI and one run scored. Robertson threw two innings and allowed eight runs on 10 hits and no walks while striking out three. Uecker threw the final four innings, allowing six runs on six hits and two walks with no strikeouts.
For New Hampshire, DeVall, Tristan Lucier and Michaud each went 3 for 4, with DeVall getting three RBIs and two runs, Lucier four RBIs and two runs, and Michaud two RBIs and one run.
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