Only Snake River Valley slows the Beaverton stars at state in Ontario

ONTARIO - They drove a long way.

A long, long way.

They played in hot weather.

Hot, hot weather.

And the Beaverton 13-year-old Babe Ruth all-star baseball team accomplished a lot.

An awful lot.

Beaverton won four of six games at the tournament, fought its way into Monday's state championship and eventually settled for second place behind Snake River Valley, the only team Beaverton lost to at the tournament.

'I thought we went in with better than even odds of winning and we nearly did it,' said Beaverton coach Craig Thomas.

Beaverton opened state tournament play with a 10-6 victory over Hermiston last Thursday, suffered a 13-0 loss to Snake River Valley in its second contest ('We came out flat and hot and we were not ready for the heat and it showed,' Thomas said).

After that, though, Beaverton knocked off three straight opponents to reach the tournament finale, beating The Dalles 11-1 on Saturday, Astoria 12-2 on Sunday and Baker City 11-1 on Monday, the last two of those in just five innings.

But Snake River and No. 1 pitcher Kyle Barris were just too tough in Monday's title game, limiting Beaverton to a single hit in his team's 3-1 victory.

'He was good. We needed to play flawlessly to beat them and we nearly did,' Thomas said.

Beaverton got a standout pitching performance from its own starter, Jeremy Cronk, who threw seven innings (with eight hits, five strikeouts and three walks) and very nearly notched a shutout. Snake River's big break came in the third inning when it loaded the bases with two outs. Cronk appeared to have notched the third out of the inning on a checked swing third strike, but the umpire ruled that Snake River's Ryan Nyborg had not swung, and he hit Cronk's next pitch for a bases-clearing triple to center field.

Beaverton's lone run came in the sixth when Kyle Grimes singled, stole second, took third on a balk and scored on a passed ball. Beaverton shortstop Jack Lawrence provided spectacular work on defense to snuff a couple SRV rallies.

'They were a good team, but we knew we could give them a better game than we had the first time we saw them,' Thomas said.

Beaverton opened with a solid win over Hermiston highlighted by Myles Richard and Cody Webb's 2-for-3 day's at the plate (Webb also had three RBIs).

In their pool play loss to SRV, Zach Thomas and Ryan Howard were the only Beaverton players to manage hits.

Against The Dalles, Thomas threw a complete game with four strikeouts, two walks and three hits. Grimes and Jordan Michael had two hits each in their team's 10-hit attack, while Caylen Clardy had one hit and scored twice.

In the quarterfinals, Cronk cranked out another strong pitching performance (with relief help from Corey Ross), while Ross went 2-for-2 at the plate and scored twice and John Richter was 2-for-3 and scored three times. Kevin Fajardo added a game-ending RBI with a suicide squeeze bunt.

In its semifinal win over Baker City, Richard threw a complete game, Alex Roth went 2-for-2 at the plate and Ryan Campbell reproduced Fajardo's feat, laying down a suicide squeeze to implement the 10-run mercy rule.

Beaverton was managed by Justin Webb and coached by Mark Richards and Thomas.

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