Seniors stampede through Bend South
Jefferson County represents District 5 at 15-16 state tourney
Jefferson County's Senior League all stars dominated their Bend South counterparts in a two of three series for the District 5 Little League championship last week.
Sparked by drives to the fence by Vaughn Prow, among numerous other hits, and anchored by the pitching of Rodney "Patch" Adams and Aaron Marshall in the first win plus John Cleveland, Marshall, Prow and Carter Gill in the second win, Jefferson County swept Bend South.
The 15- and 16-year-olds thus joined their Junior League cohorts by winning the District 5 championship of Oregon on July 16. Both the Junior League (for those 13-14) and Senior League are older divisions of Little League baseball.
A third Jefferson County Little League all-star team, for 9- and 10-year-olds, advanced to their state tourney earlier.
Catapulted ahead via base hits from Kyle Blood, Marshall and Cleveland, early then Gavin Romanick, Prow and Adams later in a seven-run first inning, Jefferson County beat Bend South, 16-6, to close out a 2-0 series win that Wednesday.
Jefferson County thus advanced to Oregon's Senior League state tournament. Its district title diminished some of the frustration of falling one win shy of the state tournament last summer for Jefferson County.
A collection of high school freshman plus a few sophomores, J.C's Senior All Star roster includes both returnees off a team nosed out a three-game series last summer and members of last year's District 5 Junior League champions.
Strong hitting during the two wins rendered the team's pitching less important, but Jefferson County's hurlers proved effective -- overall.
"We have plenty of pitchers. We'll be good to go (at state)," manager Wayne Marshall said. Jefferson County won 10-0 on Tuesday, July 15.
Balanced offensive and defensive contributions sparked Jefferson County in both its wins over Bend South.
Prow's drives to the fence were only a couple of examples.
Adams started the first game for Jefferson County. He threw to Kyle Blood.
Bend South's pitcher and catcher to start the first game were Derek Hampton and Austin Olmstead.
Both pitchers set down the opposition in the first, but Jefferson County threatened as Marshall reached third after a walk, thanks to Romanick's single, only to be stranded. The second inning proved more production for JC.
Reece's one-out single was followed by a Prow grounder that eluded Bend South's defense to ignite J.C's second in the first game. Blood then singled to right to plate Reece. Marshall drew a walk to lengthen Jefferson County's four-run display before Adams lined a single into center to claim the final RBI of that inning for J.C.
Little League rules state that all players must either spend three outs in the field on defense or bat at least once. Wayne Marshall said each J.C. player contributed.
Gill was lifted for Josh O'Gorman in the first game after slightly injuring himself running to first just ahead of the throw on his third-inning grounder for Jefferson County.
A single run in the third by O'Gorman, on Reece's single to left, added to the J.C. total, as did scores by Marshall and Cleveland in the fourth. Romanick's two-out grounder drove in both Marshall and Cleveland.
Runs by Tom Summers, after being hit by a pitch, plus Prow and Blood -- who was brought in to run for Katchia -- closed Jefferson County's fifth, ending the game under a 10-run rule.
It's first inning left the appearance Jefferson County could conclude the second game early too, but Bend South buoyed up defensively to stay afloat into the seventh.
Katchia started game two and coincidentally reached base for the second straight time before being pushed around the bases by Reece and Blood singles.
Though surrendering two runs to Bend South in both the first and second innings, Jefferson County retained nearly half its lead.
Blood's tour of the base paths in the fourth got Jefferson County's total back to double Bend South's, at 8-4. The score stayed there until runs by Romanick and Patch Adams in what could have been a higher scoring fifth inning for J.C. made it 10-4. Gill had an RBI as part of that frame.
After adding one more of its own and giving up a couple runs in the bottom of the sixth, J.C. came up with five to close the scoring in the top of the seventh.
Entering the state tournament on an offensive roll, Jefferson County batted ten hitters in its final at bat of the District 5 tourney. Reece, Blood, Marshall, Cleveland, and Jordan Say each toured the bases. Summer's double to left capped the final inning.
Gill then worked his way out of potential problems to leave a Bend South runner stranded at third to close the game.
"We wanted them to swing freely, but we could have swung even more freely," Marshall noted of the attacking of the ball by Jefferson County hitters in the series.
As manager of J.C. he credited the left-handed Chris Hillard that did most the pitching for Bend South in the second game with keeping the Jefferson County hitters off balance, to a large extent.
Should the J.C. squad get in balance enough to advance to the West regional in Lemoore, Calif., it would be playing for the right to advance to the Senior League World Series, being played the second week of August at Bangor, Maine.