Crook County Little League 9-10 minor all-stars took the field for the District 5 Tournament, held June 22-30 in Redmond, and ended the competition with one of the highest finishes of a 9-10 CC all-star team in recent memory.
Against 15 teams, the Prineville team battled its way through the field and came out placing third.
"What everyone is telling me around the league, is that as long as anyone can remember, this is the best the Crook County 9-10-year-old all-stars have done," said Crook County manager Mike Close.
Winning an opening contest 10-0 against Bend South American June 23, Crook County then fell in a marginal 6-4 setback to Hood River American June 25, before coming through the consolation ranks and grabbing third Thursday, after falling 11-1 to Hood River American, a team that went on to place second. Winning the tournament was Bend North.
In the consolation bracket June 26, the minors from Crook County scored six runs in the bottom of the first against Redmond, before the game was postponed due to rain.
The following day, the minors finished off Redmond by a score of 11-6 and went on to defeat Bend South National that afternoon 7-5, which set up the third-place game against Hood River Thursday.
"We just kind of ran out of gas and that's what it boiled down to," Close said. "I think having two games the day before kind of took it out of them."
Against Hood River, Crook County trailed 8-0 early in the contest, but the minors from Prineville wouldn't go away.
In the top of the third, Zach Close singled and then stole second with Bill Simmons up at the plate. Simmons singled to center to advance Close to third, before Steven Siers drove in Close with an RBI single to left and to make it 8-1 Hood River.
Despite the offensive attack by CC in the third, Hood River went on to score three more runs to secure the victory. Despite the setback, Close said he was pleased with his team's performance overall.
"I think they played great," he said. "We had a lot of good pitching and everyone could hit the ball. We just had a good, well-rounded team."