Gresham American punches ticket to title game
The Gresham red all-stars beat Clackamas 3-1 to advance to Fridays rookie championship.
TROUTDALE - The Gresham Americans put up some early runs and survived a bases-loaded scare in the final inning Tuesday night to earn a spot into the rookies (ages 9-10) District 2 Little League championship game.
Gresham took a 3-0 shutout into the bottom of the sixth inning before Clackamas showed signs of life when Sam McVicker knocked a high fly ball into shallow center field and hustled around the bases for a double. He came around to score on Harrison Young's single through the middle, and Clackamas would go on to load the bases with two outs.
American's pitcher Wilson Weber rose to the challenge by striking out the next batter, allowing his teammates to rush to the dugout in celebration of the 3-1 victory.
"It was extremely nerve-racking," Americans coach Ryan Weber said. "But these guys have faced that kind of pressure all year, and they just know what to do."
The win sends the Gresham Americans into the championship game at 6 p.m. Friday where they will face either Clackamas or the Gresham Nationals. Those teams met in the elimination final Thursday night. Results were not available at press time.
The Americans chose to be the visiting team Tuesday, allowing them to take the first at-bats of the game.
"We were hoping to play with the lead," Weber said.
The strategy paid off when Weber sent a triple to the right-field fence and came home on a hit by Josiah Wolcott.
The Americans would load the bases in the second inning, but came up empty when Clackamas infielder Jayden Junta made a backhand stop along the third-base line for the third out.
Gresham extended to a 3-0 lead in the third inning when Kanyan Wallace was hit by a pitch, stole his way around to third base and sprinted home on a wild pitch, sliding across the plate just before the catcher could dive back with the ball.
Teammate Zach Jones beat out an RBI-single to the shortstop to account for the team's other run.
Clackamas put up a threat in the fourth inning only to have Gresham's Weber snag a line-drive on the pitcher's mound and turn to throw to second base to finish the double play.
Clackamas brought the tying run to the plate in the fifth inning, but Weber ended that threat by striking out the last batter looking.
Gresham pitchers Wolcott and Weber combined to strike out 11 and retired the side in order twice.
Look for earlier game recaps in Friday's print edition, Page B4