PORTLAND - A shaky top of the first inning brought back thoughts of Beaverton Area's opening game of group play in the District 4 Little League Majors tournament.
But Beaverton Area buckled down and took control from there on out, beating Sun Creek 11-2 to even its record Friday at Alpenrose Dairy.
Beaverton had numerous errors in its first game, an 8-6 loss to Tigard, and fell behind 2-0 to Sun Creek in its second game. Sun Creek got RBI singles from Chris Rothstein and Cam Kimball in the first that scored Nolan Selby and Drew Knauer, respectively, for the early lead.
Beaverton responded by sending 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the inning, pounding out eight hits and scoring six runs to take command.
'Lately, most of our runs have come late in the game,' Beaverton manager Mark Allen said. 'To get that early support allowed us to play looser.'
That they did, as Beaverton pitcher Rayce Wadsworth settled down to fire five shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out five after giving up three hits in the first.
'We got such a good pitching performance from him and the team generated some runs,' Allen said. 'Having his teammates' support with solid defense helped as well.'
Brandon Cornwell started Beaverton's first-inning burst by lining a leadoff single into left field. Mitch Allen followed by banging a stand-up double to the fence in left-center to score Cornwell from first. After Wadsworth walked, Sean Lechleiter dropped down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Allen as Lechleiter reached on an infield single.
Jeremy Lipps and Tucker Spooner hit RBI singles into the
outfield to score Wadsworth and Lechleiter for a 4-2 lead. Nick Overton-Harris capped the scoring spurt by driving a two-run double down the right field line to plate Lipps and Spooner.
After three scoreless innings, Beaverton got some breathing room with a five-run fifth inning. Overton-Harris and Kyle Murfin walked and Cornwell was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Allen drew a walk to push in the first run. A groundout, passed ball and an error allowed three more runs to come across for a 10-2 lead. Mike Shupe provided the final blow with a two-out, two-strike double down the left field line to the corner that brought home Lechleiter from first.
Wadsworth set down Sun Creek in order in the sixth, striking out the last two batters to finish off the victory.
'They showed a lot of character,' Allen said. 'This is the way we knew we could play.'
Sun Creek battled throughout, but was met by its second day of misfortune. Drew Knauer jacked a full-count pitch over the left field fence in the second inning, but was called out after Beaverton appealed that he missed home plate and the umpire agreed.
Then in the fifth, relief pitcher Nicholas Rothstein was taken away in an ambulance with an apparent head injury. After throwing a pitch, Rothstein grabbed the back of his head, just above the neck before falling to the ground where he laid still for 20 minutes as medical personnel from the stands attended to him. Rothstein was treated for heat exhaustion and was released on Friday.
In Sun Creek's opening game Thursday, pitcher Nate Selby had a one-hitter with two outs in the fourth when he threw a pitch and immediately clutched his arm. He was also taken away in an ambulance. Manager Lee Selby said the early prognosis on Nate, his son, was a fractured growth plate in his right elbow.
Sun Creek went on to win the game 1-0 with Rothstein blasting a solo homer nearly 300 feet. Michael Ehlen came on in relief to record the last seven outs.
Sun Creek lost 12-3 to Tigard on Saturday, while Beaverton Area beat Lake Oswego 12-5 to earn the group's No. 2 seed. They lost 7-2 to Murrayhill in Sunday's semifinal game. Sun Creek lost 4-2 to Raleigh Hills in Sunday's consolation game.