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Beaverton residents push 14U team to World Series

Cohesive team chemistry and a limitless amount of talented players have Mound Time’s 14U All-Star team on the door step of something pretty darn special.

The team went as far east as The Dalles and as far north as Centralia, Wash., this summer, in hopes of reaching the upper crest of the Babe Ruth League.

First, they ripped the state tournament away from Mid Willamette Valley in late June. After a slew of games versus some of the best regional rivals, Mound Time (Tualatin Hills) came home with the Babe Ruth Pacific Northwest tournament trophy Aug. 4. They’ll represent the Northwest at the 14-year-old Babe Ruth World Series in Moses Lake, Wash., starting on Saturday. Mound Time’s first game is against Westchester, Calif., at 8 p.m.

The tournament runs from Aug. 17-24. by: COURTESY PHOTO: BRIAN POLLARD - After a slew of games versus some of the best regional rivals, Mound Time (Tualatin Hills) came home with the Babe Ruth Pacific Northwest tournament trophy last weekend.

“It’s great, knowing we accomplished something that was almost impossible,” said Jayden Hanna. “We’re excited. Everybody’s just pumped and ready to go. It’s hard, everything comes with a price, but we deserve to be where we are. Everybody worked as hard as they could. We didn’t take a day off. We did all we could to get to this point.”

Mound Time is based out of Hillsboro but there are plenty of Beaverton residents on the roster. Jayden Hanna and Kyle Thompson will be sophomores at Westview High. Thompson played junior varsity for Westview, so he’s already seen better pitching at the high school level. Sean Davidson and Joe Niehuser will attend Jesuit as freshmen, and Kyle Temme will be a freshman at Southridge. Gabe Skoro, Andrew Blair, Eddie Rosen and Keegan Huey are also Beaverton natives.

“We had a lot of hard work to get here,” said Thompson. “We never got down on each other, we always picked each other up. We made sure we were focused that day and ready to go.”by: COURTESY PHOTO: BRIAN POLLARD  - Mound Time will represent the Northwest at the 14-year-old Babe Ruth World Series in Moses Lake, Wash., starting on Saturday. Mound Times first game is against Westchester, Calif., at 8 p.m.

Many of the Mound Timers will be high school freshmen with the exception of a few younger sophomores. The coaching staff of Brian Pollard, Paul Gilberston and Greg Caro put encouraging pressure on the entire team, not just the stars or the veterans, to come through and succeed. Whether it was 14U’s ace or a long reliever, Mound Time motivated the squad to get the job done.

Mound Time players pride themselves on pitching and defense but, as Pollard said, you have to score runs to win. The team has put all three stages of baseball together, and great things have happened.

If they can continue to uphold that formula, Pollard believes they have a good shot at a trophy.

“We definitely want to win the whole thing,” said Temme. “We know it’s going to be hard, but I think if we play our best, we have a good chance. A lot of kids can’t say they’ve been to a World Series, so it’s nice to be one of the only ones around here to make it.”

This particular group of players is established in the Mound Time program and have played together for the past two seasons. Having that engrained team chemistry that comes with competing for a long period of time is uncommon amongst conglomerated travel squads, but it’s been a huge help on the field.

Pollard said they’re together almost every day during the week, so they get to spend time with each other whether they want to or not.

“We know what everyone can do,” said Thompson. “We all know everything about each other, so it’s not like we’re nervous to go talk to somebody if they make a mistake. We can go pick them up right away, tell them what they do wrong, so they can fix it. It’s good to have good team chemistry.”

“When you have a group that’s so close friendship-wise, that only helps to build chemistry,” added Pollard. “They all trust each other. When somebody’s up in a certain situation, they all trust that he’s going to get the job done.”

Hanna said Mound Time’s leadoff guys have speed for days and can leg out anything hit hard on the dirt. Mound Time’s middle of the order can bring the pop, but they’re also versatile enough to square around and lay down a sacrifice bunt. They do the little things that put their teammates in scoring position.

“We really have no weak spots,” Hanna said. “We’re strong, and we work together as a team.”

Temme said Mound Time scored a lot of runs in the first couple innings during regionals and kept finding ways of increasing its leads.

“We got to a hot start,” Temme recalled. “It was nice for the pitchers to not have that much pressure on allowing runs and the fielders to make errors just knowing we were ahead by a lot.”

Temme noted it’s crucial that Mound Time’s starters throw as many quality innings as possible and shut the opposing team down.

That way, 14U has enough arms to get through pool play and into the winner’s bracket without too much wear and tear. The bats will be a constant presence in each of the games, Hanna said.

“I really have no worries about our hitting, that’s always going to be there,” said Hanna. “If our pitching’s there, we’re going to win. We have a really strong pitching staff and a bunch of closers who can come in in tight spots. They don’t get nervous at all. They’re doing great right now, so let’s hope they keep it that way.”

Hanna ended the summer on Westview High’s Robinson Construction team that placed third in the OIBA tournament in July.

A left-handed contact hitter with an upperclassmen’s temperament, Hanna’s been one of the straws stirring the 14U’s drink.

Pollard said Hanna’s been indispensable both as a leader to the younger players and with his output at the dish.

“He’s a special player,” said Pollard of Hanna.

“He’s a guy every coach wants on his roster. He gets along with all the kids. He’s definitely a team leader. He’s the type of kid who will do anything you ask. Jayden wants to compete and win. Opposing coaches stop me after games and say he’s a special kid who’s going to be a good player.”




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