North Marion players shine in baseball all-star series
The 2019 Oregon 4A All Star Series put on an exciting show to kick off the 40th anniversary of the event, with the South rebounding from a Game 1 loss to the North on Saturday night at Bob Brack Stadium to win back-to-back games in front of a Father's Day audience on Sunday to win the series.
Led by Tournament MVP Griffin Henry from the hosting North Marion Huskies, the North won the opening nine-inning game by a 5-2 margin, rallying to score three runs in the bottom of the eighth to pull out the win.
The games remained close on Sunday. The South withstood another late rally from the North in Game 2, tying the game in the bottom of the seventh to send the contest to extra innings, where they went on to win 8-7.
In the final game of the series, the South broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning and held on to win 3-2 and win the series.
Game 1 — North 5, South 2
The North's lone victory of the series largely came at the hands of North Marion's three representatives, who played much or all of game under the lights at Bob Brack Stadium on Saturday night.
In his final start on the mound in a North Marion uniform, Griffin Henry put up a vintage performance, striking out 10 batters while giving up three hits in five innings while playing across from his brother at catcher.
The North opened the game in what has been a typical sight for North Marion fans. Iliyn lead off the game, taking a full count walk followed by a stolen base when Gladstone's Austin Conner followed next in the lineup.
Conner singled up the left side of the field, allowing Iliyn to come home and put the North up 1-0 early.
Meanwhile, Griffin Henry kept some of the best senior hitters in the state largely at bay, striking out a pair of batters in the opening inning after giving up a series-opening single to Dawson Linscott of Baker City.
He allowed just two batters to reach scoring position in his stint on the mound, only one of which reached third base when Henley's Andrew Reynolds hit a leadoff double in the fifth inning. But Henry struck out the next two batters, and after Reynolds reached third on a passed ball, Henry struck out the final batter to conclude the inning and end his evening with the North up 1-0.
The North added a second run in the bottom of the inning to double their advantage, but Henry out of the game, the South was able to get to Banks' Tyler Lilly, plating a pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning to tie the game at 2-2.
But the North quickly struck back in the bottom of the frame.
Newport's Cole Braxling reached second base on an error and scored on a single from Seaside's Payton Westerholm three batters later. Astoria's Burke Matthews drove in a pair of runs to put the North up 5-2 before Iliyn grounded out to end the inning.
That set the stage for Grant Henry to finish the night.
After playing the first six innings of the game, Henry took a seat for the seventh and eighth before being called on in the ninth to wrap things up.
Just as his brother had done before, Grant Henry went largely unchallenged, striking out three batters while just one South batter reached second on catcher's interference, followed by a stolen base.
Offensively, Iliyn went 0-for-3 with a pair of walks and a run scored. Grant Henry was 1-for-3 with a double, while Griffin Henry was 0-for-2 on the night.
Game 2 — South 8, North 7
The second game of the series came down to the final three innings of play.
After the North had taken a 3-2 advantage in the third inning, the South took advantage of sloppy play in the bottom of the sixth, plating a pair of runs to take a 4-3 lead.
But once again, the North — specifically North Marion — tried to get the last word.
Griffin Henry led off the top of the seventh with a double to center field. Iliyn followed with a walk, and after the South induced the first out of the inning on a strikeout, Grant Henry reached base after being hit by a pitch. All three North Marion players scored in the inning to put their team back up 6-4.
But the South returned the favor in the bottom of the inning, scoring a pair of runs to extend the contest to extra innings, where they went on to win in the bottom of the eight.
Griffin Henry was 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored. Grant Henry was 0-for-1 with a run scored, and Iliyn was 0-for-1 with a run scored.
Game 3 — South 3, North 2
In the final game, the South broke a scoreless contest in the fourth inning by plating a pair of runs, only for the North to follow in the fifth with two of their own — the second of which came when Iliyn was driven in on a single from Grant Henry.
But the South had the final word in the series when La Grande's Isaac Zamora hit an RBI-double to drive in Sweet Home's Nate Virtue for the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth.
Grant Henry finished the game going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Iliyn was 0-for-2 with a run scored, while Griffin Henry was 0-for-3.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.