Tualatin team storms to JBO state championship
After putting together what could easily be called an outstanding regular-season performance, it seemed only fitting the that Tualatin Minor Federal JBO baseball team (third/fourth-graders) would finish up on a strong note.
And that's exactly what the Tualatin squad did.
Tualatin wrapped up a 34-5-1 (overall record against all levels of teams) season by going 4-0, and claiming the championship, at the JBO Minor Federal State Tournament, held July 12-14 in Lebanon.
"I loved the toughness and competitive nature of the boys and their willingness to fight through tough situations," Tualatin coach Scott Brenton said. "I feel fortunate to have been able to coach this group of boys, and respect that each individual player had to go make the play and learn from their experiences."
"It's tough to go undefeated in any sport, we did it in JBO baseball with 10-year-olds," Tualatin coach Daron Grubb said. "It's a great group that I expect to be challenging for a state championship in high school in seven years, or so."
Tualatin opened state tournament play on July 12 by scoring a 12-0, four-inning win over Reedville.
Kellen Martin pitched the first three innings of the shutout victory for Tualatin, giving up no runs on two hits, while striking out five and walking two. Dylan Brenton threw the final inning, striking out two.
Kye Leenders helped lead the offensive attack in the victory, going 2 for 2 at the plate with two stolen bases, a run scored and three RBIs. Adam Manke and Brenton each had a hit and scored a pair of runs. Dre Whitmire doubled, scored and run and drove in two runs. Ethan Paulson had two RBIs. Brenton had a hit and scored twice. Wyatt Mooney, Martin and Braden Sanders each had a hit and a run scored. Caspen Cunningham scored a run.
Later on July 12, Tualatin got a 10-2 win over Newberg in a winners' bracket semifinal game of the eight-team double-elimination tournament.
Hunter Grubb had a big day at the plate for Tualatin in that victory. He went 2 for 3 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBIs. Leenders also hit a home run and drove in a pair. Whitmire went 2 for 3 with two runs scored. Shane Haddad Jr., had a hit and drove in two runs. Paulson had a hit, a run scored and an RBI. Mooney had a hit and a run scored. Manke, Sanders and Cunningham each scored a run. Gabriel Kehoe-Ellis drove in a run.
Paulson, Grubb and Leenders all pitched in the win, combining to strike out six batters.
In the July 13 winners' bracket final, Tualatin outslugged Oregon City to get a 13-6 victory.
Whitmire had a huge game at the plate, going 2 for 2 with a triple, a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs. Grubb went 2 for 2 with two runs scored and an RBI. Paulson and Sanders both doubled and scored a run. Kehoe-Ellis scored a pair of runs and drove in two. Brenton had a hit and two RBIs. Cunningham had a hit, a run scored and an RBI. Martin and Haddad each scored a run. Mooney drove in a run.
Tualatin capped off its tourney trek on July 14 with a 9-4 win over West Albany in the championship game.
Leenders was the winning pitcher in the title contest. He gave up three runs (none earned) on two hits, while striking out eight and walking one in four innings of work. Martin also pitched in the victory.
Brenton helped lead a balanced offensive attack, going 2 for 2 with a triple, a run scored and an RBI. Martin tripled and drove in two runs. Kehoe-Ellis doubled, scored a run and drove in a run. Whitmire hit and double and scored a run. Manke had a hit and two runs scored. Mooney had a hit, a run and an RBI. Cunningham had a hit and a run scored. Grubb and Leenders each scored a run.
"The boys took the teaching, coaching, and training to the highest level and competed against the best in the Pacific Northwest," Scott Brenton said. "We had great families and sponsors that supported our team and we are thankful for all the support."
"Youth baseball has come a long way," Daron Grubb said. "We are teaching kids higher level pick plays and defenses that we learned in high and college. Coaching the mental part of baseball has garnered the biggest growth in our kids — how to compete and have an approach."
In addition to the state championship, the Tualatin team also went 15-0 to win the league title, and then went 4-0 to take first place in the county tournament.
Shaun Sanders is the team's assistant coach.
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