Tigard rallies to win semifinal thriller
TIGARD — The brink of elimination.
It was staring the Tigard Little League ages 9-11 all-star baseball team right in the face.
The Tigard team was down to its final at-bats, and facing a 6-5 deficit, during its District 4 tournament semifinal game with Lake Oswego.
But, with all of its spirit, determination and optimism, the Tigard squad wasn't about to give up.
Instead, the team clad in green got to celebrate a thrilling, walk-off victory.
Tigard, getting a game-winning two-run double by Carter Jordan in the bottom of the sixth inning, completed an impressive comeback, beating Lake Oswego 7-6 in the tourney semifinal game played Monday at Cook Park.
"This is a great group of kids," Tigard manager David Jones said after the victory. "We talk a lot about mental toughness, and Oregon State was a great role model. They all battled."
"This was pretty good," a smiling Jordan said. "Lake Oswego got close, but not close enough."
With the victory, Tigard advances to face Murrayhill (a 12-0 winner over Southwest Portland in Monday's other semifinal), in the District 4 tournament championship game, set to start at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Cook Park.
Tigard, in Monday's semifinal game, trailed 4-0 midway through the third inning, and also was down 6-3 going into the bottom of the fifth inning. That's where the comeback really began.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Owen Wright came through in the clutch, hitting a two-out, two-run single, with Dominic Taylor and Ollie Jones both scoring on the hit, trimming the margin to 6-5 going into the dramatic sixth inning.
In the top of the frame, Tigard got a key defensive play, with Taylor, in center field, making a throw to second baseman Andrew Hergert, who threw to Wright at the plate, with Wright tagging out a Lake Oswego running trying to score for the final out of the inning, keeping the margin at 6-5 going into the bottom of the frame.
Connor Bok, leading off the inning for Tigard, singled to right field. Michael Harms, next up for Tigard, hit a hard line drive to center field. The ball dropped in, but, it was hit so hard that Lake Oswego was able to throw out Bok at second base. But, as it turned out, that didn't matter.
Hergert followed with a single to center field, with Harms moving to second base on the hit.
Jordan then hit the ball over the center fielder's head, with Harms and Hergert both scoring on the hit, giving Tigard the 7-6 victory.
"That felt amazing," Jordan said. "My team all helped me with it. They got on base, and I just hit it."
The two-run double led to a wild Tigard victory celebration.
"That was amazing," Jordan said.
Taylor pitched the first four-and-two-thirds innings for Tigard in the victory. He gave up six runs (two earned) on six hits, while striking out seven and walking one. Alex Pearson threw the final one-and-one-third inning, allowing no runs on one hit, while striking out two and walking none.
Wright helped lead the offensive attack, going 2 for 3 at the plate with three RBIs. Pearson went 1 for 3 with a run scored and two RBIs. Taylor and Ollie Jones each scored a pair of runs.
"The goal was to get to the game we're going to play in tomorrow," David Jones said.
Tigard opened the tournament on Friday with a 15-0 pool play win over Tillamook County. On Saturday, Tigard scored a 7-1 pool play win over Southwest Portland.
Other players for the Tigard team include Blake Pearson, Caleb Jolley and Owen Nichols.