The team opens pool play Saturday against the Ohio Valley champs
One year after finishing in second place at the Babe Ruth Baseball World Series, the Portland Baseball Club is back again with a roster headlined by three former Barlow Bruins.
Recent graduates Jake Thran and Jake Otness join 2010 graduate Jordyn Van Atta as the three members of the 16-18 year old team that hail from Gresham.
The squad is put together through coach recommendations from around the area as well as an open tryout held at the beginning of the summer.
Despite coming off back-to-back regional titles, the team got off to a rocky start this summer, losing three of their first four games. Fortunately for all of the new players on the roster, that would later prove to be nothing more than an aberration, as the team finished the season 38-10 (.792).
Of those 38 wins, four of them came at the state tournament in the middle of July, where the team outscored their opponents 48-12 on their way to the title. The regional tournament in Port Angeles, Wash., however, turned out to be a bit more humbling.
After winning their first two games by a combined score of 21-1, the club received their first setback in a 6-1 loss to Wilder. Facing elimination, the team came back to beat Montana 13-2 to keep their season alive.
That hope appeared to be short lived in the next game against Kitsap, as they entered the sixth inning trailing 1-0. Fortunately the team delivered a critical rally to stave off elimination once again with a 4-1 victory.
That win gave them a rematch with Wilder for the right to advance to the World Series, and once again they found themselves trailing 1-0 as the game neared the end. And once again, the team found a spark when they needed it and rallied for another 4-1 victory and the regional title.
'I think everyone was expecting to win and we came through when we needed to,' Van Atta said, 'So we're expecting the same thing in the World Series and we're trying to win it because we're not satisfied with just winning regionals.
The World Series will take place August 6-13, in Ephrata, Washington, where the Portland club open up with a game at 2 p.m. Saturday against the winner of the Ohio Valley region.