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Murrayhill wins state yet again

The Beaverton team wins its fourth straight state title, heads to regionals
by: JONATHAN HOUSE, BRING IT ON — Murrayhill pitcher Jace Fry (shown here during the District 4 Tournament) held Pendleton hitless through five innings of his team’s 9-3 state championship victory last Thursday at Ashland.

ASHLAND - On to San Bernardino.

The Murrayhill Little League Majors baseball all-stars completed their state title quest last Thursday with a 9-3 victory over Pendleton. The win not only guaranteed Murrayhill it fourth straight Majors state title, it gave it a berth in the Northwest Regional Tournament at San Bernardino, Calif., beginning tomorrow (Friday) and continuing through Aug. 13.

'We celebrated but it wasn't very big,' Murrayhill manager Jeff Keller said of his team's state title win. 'The way we look at it is we're writing a book and we've completed two chapters.

'We're hoping to write a four-chapter book and we're getting ready to write chapter three.'

'Chapter three,' of course, is the upcoming Northwest Regional tilt, while 'Chapter four' would mark a berth in the 2006 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn., Aug. 18-27, a place no Oregon team has reached since 1958.

But first things first - Murrayhill's schedule at regionals includes games against: Idaho at 9 a.m. Friday; Alaska at 5 p.m. Saturday; Wyoming at 11:45 a.m. Monday; and Montana at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The top four seeds advance to the semifinals at 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Aug. 11 with the championship set for 7 p.m. Aug. 13.

Murrayhill earned its spot in the six-team regional field by rolling up a 9-0 lead against Pendleton, then hanging on to win despite a three-run Pendleton sixth inning. Pitcher Jace Fry was on fire to start the game, retiring 15 of the first 18 batters he faced, allowing no hits in the game's first five innings and finishing his day with 11 strikeouts.

'The umpire had a pretty small strike zone so he relied a lot on his fastball,' Keller said. 'Then in the middle part of the game, he got some outs with his curveball. When he kept his curveball, he did a pretty good job.'

Offensively, Murrayhill had enough to win after just three innings. Fry opened the finale with a leadoff homer on the game's second pitch, and in the third, teammate Derek Keller hit a two-run shot to right-center to give his team a 3-0 lead. Sam Albert added Murrayhill's third homer later in the inning, a solo shot to center that proved to be the game-winning run.

Still leading 4-0, Murrayhill put the game out of reach with a five-run fifth that featured an RBI single by Derek Keller, a bases-loaded walk by Devon Dejardin, a two-run double by Bryan Domogalla and an RBI double by Toma Matisoff.

Pendleton, with Fry tiring in the sixth, got three singles, a double and a walk to score its three runs.

For the game, top Murrayhill hitters were: Fry, 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored; Keller, 3-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs; Albert, 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs; Dejardin, 1-for-2 with one RBI and one run; Domogalla, 1-for-2 with two RBIs; and Matisoff, 1-for-3 with one RBI.

Other team members are Trevor Nix, Alex Powell, Perry Lampman, Miguel Rivera, Corey Pool, Austin Perry and coaches Ron Pool and Dave Nix.