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Jeff County cruises to state title

by: Photo By Holly M. Gill - The Jefferson County Little League Junior Team swept the state tournament in LaPine Saturday through Monday in five straight games, beating Reynolds for a second time Monday evening, 6 to 1. Above, left to right, Spencer Ellsbury, Austin Say (who pitched the final game) and Tyrell Smith discuss the regional tournament — which begins Tuesday, Aug. 1, at 4 p.m. in Beaverton at the Tualatin Valley Parks and Recreation District — with Manager Bob Gill. The team hopes to raise money for the tournament before the opener against Northern California on Tuesday.


   Jefferson County's 13-14 All-Stars are state champions.
   Just as they did the district tournament earlier in July, the Jeff Co boys dominated the field in the state tournament, held Saturday through Monday at La Pine.
   On Monday evening, Jefferson County beat Reynolds 6-1 to win the title, their fifth straight victory in the tournament.
   Austin Say pitched a complete seven-inning game against Reynolds to get the win, and the game ball from Manager Bob Gill.
   Say also scored the team's first run, in the first inning, after singling. Turner Gill would drive him home with a single, then scored himself on a hit by Martin Brown.
   Jeff Co bumped its lead to 4-0 in the second when Ryan Brunner and Jeremiah Calvin both scored, after reaching on an error and a walk, respectively.
   The champs' final two runs came in the fourth and the fifth innings. In the fourth, Spencer Ellsbury singled, stole second, and was driven home by Say. Max Stovall singled in the fifth, stole second, and scored on a Brunner double.
   Brunner and Rodney Smith each got two hits in the championship game.
   Reynolds got their lone run in the fourth inning when they managed three consecutive singles. But Say got out of a based-loaded jam to end the threat.
   Earlier Monday, Jefferson County got into the title match with a 24-0 win over Emerald Valley East. Turner Gill went five for five with seven RBI to lead the hit parade. Calvin was two for three with three RBI. Say's triple was the biggest shot of the contest.
   Smith threw the full five-innings of this mercy-rule-shortened contest, and gave up just three hits. He also hit a double in the third.
   First meeting
   The local squad kicked off its tournament with a 17-4 pool play win over Reynolds.
   Brown pitched the five-inning win, having just one bad inning, Reynolds' four-run third, hurt most by a bases-loaded triple, which made the score 5-4.
   It was about the only time Jeff Co was had to sweat.
   But they responded with 10 runs in the fifth to put this opener on ice. Both Brunner and Gill were three for four on the game, with Gill getting six RBI. His double in the fifth was the team's only extra-base hit.
   On Sunday, Jefferson County faced Illinois Valley. It wasn't much of a contest as Jeff Co won 22-4.
   Brunner, Trevor Suppah and Stovall each got a turn on the mound, with Suppah throwing three innings.
   The team's four and five hitters, Stovall and Brown, combined to go five for eight, with seven RBI. Stovall smacked a fifth-inning home run, which Brown followed with a double.
   Tyrell Smith finished two for four at the plate, with a double and a single, and had two RBI.
   After disposing of the Southern Oregon boys in the morning, on Sunday evening Jeff Co faced a Northern Oregon team: St. Helens. This one was over quickly as well, as Jefferson County erupted for 10 runs in the first inning en route to a 13-3 five-inning victory.
   Manager Gill again let several boys get pitching time. Smith and Brunner pitched the first two innings, then Calvin threw the third and fourth, with Say getting an inning in to close out the five-run affair.
   St. Helens scored one in the third and two in the fourth inning, long after Jefferson County had put this one on ice.
   Leadoff hitter Smith had a solid game at the plate, going three for three, all singles, with two RBI. Gill went two for two, getting four RBI on two singles. Brown was also two for two with two RBI. Say's triple was the biggest shot of the contest.
   On Monday morning, Jefferson County faced Emerald Valley East. Once again, no contest, as Jeff Co rolled 24-0, putting them in the title game -- the rematch with Reynolds.
   As Oregon's champions, the team now heads to the Regional Tournament, set for Beaverton's Tualatin Valley Parks and REcreation field. Jeff Co will open against California at 4 p.m.
   The state title for the Juniors was the first Jefferson County All-Star state title since its Senior team won in 1999. That team included Jacoby Ellsbury, who would become an all-American at Oregon State and a first-round draft choice of the Boston Red Sox, and Jared Adams, who would pitch at the University of Portland.
   The Jeff Co team is looking for financial contributions to help with lodging and food for what could be a week-long tournament. To contribute, contact league president Kathy Dominguez at 546-4971.