Tualatin City battles strong at Little League state tourney
The TC team of 9-10 year-olds has fun at the event held in Eugene
EUGENE - They didn't get the wins.
But they sure had plenty of fun - and plenty of good memories.
The Tualatin City Little League ages 9-10 all-star softball team concluded its special summer season with a 15-4 loss to Willamette in an Oregon State Tournament losers' bracket first-round game played
Monday at Sheldon High School.
'I was excited that we got to play here,' Tualatin City catcher Ella Hillier said after Monday's game. 'It's the first time for a Tualatin City team since 2003.'
'It was fun to make it to state,' TC's Lily Marshall added. 'We practiced a lot and had fun.'
Tualatin City earned the bid to the state tournament by winning the District 4 tournament earlier in the month. At the state event, TC lost its first game 10-0 to Hood River before facing Willamette in Monday's state tourney contest.
'It was a good summer,' Tualatin City manager Joey Hall said. 'This was a new thing for all of the girls. I think they were kind of spent after winning district, but they still had fun. And this experience is big.'
Willamette took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning of Monday's game, with the big hit of the frame being a two-run double off the bat of Dominique Deo.
But Tualatin City came battling back in its half of the opening frame.
Marshall got things going for TC, reaching first base on a bunt with one out in the bottom of the first inning. Brooke Clinton and Hillier were each hit by a pitch, loading the bases.
One out later, Lindsay Stadick was also hit by a pitch, bringing in Marshall with the first run of the game for Tualatin City. Clinton then stole home on a delayed steal, cutting the Willamette lead to 3-2.
Willamette scored a run in the top of the second inning and two more - with one coming in on a double by Dani Arnold - in the third frame to up its lead to 6-2.
Tualatin City threatened in the bottom of the fourth inning, with both Stadick and Kendra Zuckerman drawing walks with one out in the frame.
Stadick then stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Stadick then tried to score on a passed ball, but she was called out on a close play at the plate.
Willamette then broke things open in the fifth inning, scoring seven times to up its lead to 13-2. Deo had the big hit of the frame with a two-run double.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Tualatin City had to score at least two runs to keep the contest going, or else the game would end due to the 10-run lead rule.
And the determined Tualatin City team kept the game going.
Kara Larsen drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning for TC. A pair of wild pitches put her on third base with one out in the frame. Marshall then drove in Larsen with an infield single to make the score 13-3.
Marshall moved to second on a grounder by Clinton and she advanced to third on a wild pitch.
Marshall, sliding in, then scored on a passed ball to give TC its needed second run of the inning, making the score 13-4.
Willamette scored a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning to push the margin to 15-4. Tualatin City got a two-out single by Rachel Peters in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the team wasn't able to bring her home, leaving the final score at 15-4.
'I thought we played hard,' Hillier said. 'But we came up short.'
Marshall and Peters each had base hits for Tualatin City in Monday's state tournament game.
Marshall also pitched strong for TC in relief. She had 11 strikeouts in five innings of work.
'We were hoping to string more hits together,' Hall said. 'But we still go down as District 4 champions. It's been awhile since we've done that.'
'Winning district was cool,' Hillier said. 'The best thing was getting our picture with the banner.'
'After that game, we were all saying we were going to state,' Marshall said.
Other members of the Tualatin City team include Camille Hall, Elizabeth Hillier, Riley Hoffman and Sydney Wagner.
Kent Wagner and Monica Marshall were the team's coaches.