Sellwood Little League team wins State Sportsmanship Award
On Sunday, August 12, the Sellwood Little League boys' "Warriors" team celebrated its accomplishments at the Eastmoreland residence of Coach Ryan Kullberg, his wife Meeka, and their sons Tate and Derek.
The baseball league team of fourth and fifth graders – which sometimes has girls, but not this season – had a great summer of winning tournaments. In addition to coming in third in state – plus first in Sherwood, and second in a few others – they received the state sportsmanship trophy.
In keeping with good sportsmanship, at the Eastmoreland backyard celebration Coach Kullberg called each boy up to hear praise for his leadership, attitude, technique, or general comportment. In turn each boy praised some other teammate, and gave him a homemade award – including one boy's poem of praise.
"It is important to hear from each other, and be supportive of one another," said Kullberg. "And this is a good opportunity for them to speak in public."
Kullberg expressed appreciation to the players' "great parents" and their support of the team. Working together as a community was a key component of the boys' successes, he remarked.
Kullberg acknowledged assistant coaches Matt Herman, J.P. Brock, Harry Hanna, scorekeeper Sunny Herman, and major all-around supporter Meeka Kullberg.
"Parent Brian Pinaire did all the online scorekeeping through the 'Gamechanger' app so that parents and family members could follow the games' play by play, even if they could not be present [in the stands]. It was an amazing way to keep families connected and involved with the team throughout the season," observed Meeka.
The boys come from a number of Southeast Portland and Milwaukie elementary schools – Lewis, Duniway, Abernethy, St. Agatha, Holy Family, and Ardenwald. Many have played since age four or five, and will go on to join the Cleveland High School Warriors or another high school team. (Llewellyn Elementary in Westmoreland does participate in this league, but did not happen to have players on this particular team.)
Always in the dugout with the boys throughout the season was the Kullberg's dog, Clyde, a Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd mix, adopted from the Great Pyrenees Rescue Society.
"Clyde was about a year old when the season started. 'Pyrs' are wonderful loving dogs. They are incredibly kind, and adore kids. Clyde's favorite days of the week were baseball days," commented Meeka.
After the backyard awards ceremony, the boys went to the front yard to slither down a giant water slide. Clyde the dog tried desperately to participate, but could not quite get up the ladder to go down the slide.
All the team's trophies are on display in Sellwood at the business of the team's sponsor, Moreland Ale House, which was formerly known as The Skybox, situated on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, just north of where that street converges with S.E. 17th Avenue.