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Local teams finish strong in summer baseball league

Midget and Junior teams both win county championships and make it to state tournaments
by: Courtesy photo Courtesy photo
Players from Forest Grove’s Midget National team were all smiles Saturday after holding off a late-rally to defeat Welches in the state tournament. Front row (left to right):  Shaeden Tsosie, Colten Hesselman and Trevor Cannon. Middle:  Eli Leto, Riley Marshall, Henry O’Donnell, Daniel Pruitt, Tanner Nelson, Ladd McLaughlin, Roman Miller, James Baglai annd Branden Wise. Back:  Coach Alex Tsosie, Coach Jim O’Donnell and Head Coach Troy Miller. Not pictured: Liam Conlon.

A pair of Forest Grove Junior Baseball teams wrapped up successful summer seasons over the weekend.

After winning the Washington County title, Forest Grove's Midget National team went deep into the state tournament. The boys (ages 7-10) won their first two contests, but on Thursday dropped their third game to Sellwood 10-5.

Playing two games a day through the weekend in Beaverton, the team fought through the loser's bracket, winning three consecutive games with one-run margins, to make it all the way to the championship game before running out of gas against a fresh West Salem squad.

The team batted a combined 0.448 for the tournament and ended the year second in the state, out of 107 teams.

Daniel Pruitt pitched nine strong innings, and held off a final-inning rally by Welches in Game 6. In the semi-final rematch against Sellwood, Forest Grove battled back from a seven-run deficit, capping the game with a thrilling inside-the-park home run by Riley Marshall with two outs in the bottom half of the last inning.

'I am so proud of how the boys played,' said head coach, Troy Miller. 'Every one of them made a contribution and the team never gave up.'

Meanwhile, down in Lebanon, Forest Grove's Junior American team wound up a summer season in which their 15-3 regular record put them second in league play.

The boys (ages 11-12) advanced to the Washington County District playoffs in McMinnville where they, too, came home with a first place trophy and a trip to the state championship tournament where they finished in 7th place.

Coach Dan Cardinal said it was a great season.

'We set a goal at our first practice of going to the state tournament and the boys never lost sight of that even after losing our first league game 10-9,' he said.

As usual, the Vikings proved adept at the long ball in Lebanon. Coleton Hansen, Bailey Evers and Aaron Cardinal all hit home runs - for Hansen, his sixth of the summer.

'The boys really played as a family,' Cardinal said 'They all have a lot of talent and heart, and continually picked each other up throughout the season.'