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Raleigh Hills battles at state

Bend South knocks off Raleigh Hills in game two, but RH is still alive
by: BECCA QUINT HE’S SAFE — Raleigh Hills’ Dylan Hires (shown here at district) and his teammates have won two of their first three games at the state tournament.

BEND - It's been feast or famine for the Raleigh Hills Majors all-stars so far at the Oregon State Little League Baseball Tournament.

But fortunately, it's been more feast by a 2-1 margin so far.

Raleigh Hills, the District 4 champion, opened the double-elimination state tournament at Skyview Middle School with a 15-2 rout of Rainier on Saturday, fell to Bend South 13-2 on Sunday, then hammered Sheldon 13-1 on Monday in a loser-out game.

'I'm very happy and proud of what we've done so far,' said Raleigh Hills manager Andy Peterson. 'They've done everything I've asked of them.'

Still alive for a shot at the state title, Raleigh Hills faced Gresham yesterday (Wednesday) after the Valley Times' press deadline. With a win there, Raleigh Hills would play again at 2:30 p.m. today (Thursday). The team would have to win three more times after that to claim the state title, those games set for 5:30 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. Saturday and noon Saturday.

In Raleigh Hills' opener, Kyle Temme shut down Rainier for four straight innings and his hitters got going right away. Raleigh Hills, which got homers from both Dusty Ward and Joe Hollowell, pushed across three runs in the first inning, added two more in the second and just kept rolling from there.

'Everyone was swinging the bats really well,' Peterson said.

Tournament favorite and host Bend South turned the tables on Raleigh Hills in game two, however. Though Bend South won comfortably, Raleigh Hills led 1-0 through two innings and trailed just 4-2 through four innings before Bend South caught fire.

'I thought we had a very good chance' against Bend South, Peterson said. 'But it was 95 degrees out there and we kind of wilted at the end.'

Temme homered in the first inning for Raleigh Hills, and Ward pitched well until tiring in the heat later in the contest.

Ward 'did a terrific job until he ran out of juice,' Peterson said.

Undeterred, Raleigh Hills rallied to victory against Sheldon, batting around in the first inning and pouring across six runs to take control of the game right from the get-go. Dylan Hires, Wyatt Christophersen and Hollowell led Raleigh Hills' hitting attack, with Hollowell hitting his second homer of the tournament and Ward adding a two-run shot of his own.

'We put up big numbers in the first and just put them away in the fourth,' Peterson said. 'They picked themselves up (after the loss to Bend South). We're battling.'

The rest of the Raleigh Hills lineup includes Ryan Hekker, Caden Johnsen, Joe Johnson, Steele Peterson, Nate Post, Mataio Talalemotu and Kevin Watson, and coaches Lane Christophersen and Brenda Peterson.