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Murrayhill road warriors pack up and head east

The local all-stars are the first Oregon team in Williamsport since 1958

It's been a long time - OK, a very, very long time since an Oregon team last made an appearance in the Little League Baseball World Series.

None of the members of this year's Murrayhill all-star team were born the last time an Oregon team went to Willi-amsport, Penn., for the tournament.

In fact, most if not all of the Murray-hill players' parents weren't even born the last time Oregon was represented in the Series. That year was 1958 and the team was Portland's Rose City Little League, but this year is 2006 and Murrayhill is as ready as can be to take part in the 16-team tournament, which begins with opening ceremonies today (Thursday) and continues through Aug. 27.

Needless to say, just making it to the Series is a big honor, but Murrayhill also believes it will be able to compete.

'The boys have spent about seven weeks playing together now,' said assistant coach Ron Pool. 'They've become a pretty tight bunch.'

Murrayhill's opener will be the first game of the tournament at 1 p.m. Friday against the New England representative, Portsmouth Little League of New Hampshire. The game will be televised live by ESPN2; all Series games will be carried by either ESPN or ESPN2.

Murrayhill is guaranteed to play three games in its four-team pool. The Beaverton team also will meet Lake Charles, La., at noon PT Sunday (the game will be televised on ESPN) and then face Columbia, Mo., at 5 p.m. PT Monday (ESPN2) in pool play.

If Murrayhill finishes among the top two teams from its pool, it will advance to the U.S. semifinal on Aug. 23.

Two teams from each of four pools (two consisting of United States teams, two of international teams) will advance to semifinals on Aug. 23. The U.S. and international champions will then meet for the title at 12:30 p.m. PT on Aug. 27 (ESPN).

'We figure we need to go 2-1 in pool play,' said Murrayhill assistant coach Ron Pool, the only team member who was alive when Rose City played in the World Series (he was born in 1956).

Other teams that have qualified for the series are from Lemont, Ill., Phoenix, Ariz., Columbus, Ga., Surrey, British Columbia, Saipan, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Tamaulipas, Japan, Russia and Curacao.

Murrayhill left for Williamsport early Tuesday morning from San Bernardino.

'Some of the parents are going back to Portland to pick up clothes for the kids,' Pool said. 'We'll be in Williamsport through the end of the tournament, regardless of what happens.'

Most of the Murrayhill players go to Conestoga Middle School, one attends Highland Park Middle School and another player goes to Fowler Junior High in Tigard.