St. Helens team prevails in two tight contests
St. Helens' Dutch Bros. Little League team had to keep their composure to win two games last weekend to capture the countywide Tournament of Champions title.
Sunday's championship game was a pitcher's duel between Dutch Bros. Levi Norton and Will Burghardt of Fultano's Pizza of Clatskanie. It ended with a slim 1-0 win for Dutch Bros.
Both pitchers went the distance, staying within the 85-pitch limit. Norton struck out 11 Clatskanie batters in a no-hitter and walked just two. Just three Clatskanie batters made it to base, one on an error. Burghardt had a similar outing, striking out 14 batters and giving up just three hits.
The game was scoreless for the first three innings. In the top of the fourth, with two outs, Dutch Bros.' Colton Beisley bunted and reached base on a throwing error. Norton came up to bat and cranked a double to the left center fence. Beisley would move to third on the hit. On the next batter, he broke for home on a passed ball and was safe on a very close play at the plate.
There were few opportunities for either team to score. Clatskanie had gotten a runner to second in the first inning off an error. Matt Anderson led off with a single for the St. Helens team in the first and Norton was walked, but both died on base. Blake Pellham was safe after a bunt in the sixth, the only other St. Helens batter to reach base.
Norton gave up a walk to the leadoff batter in the fourth, and he stole second. Norton then struck out the next three batters. A walk in the fifth with two outs, ended with a pop fly to short.
It wasn't easy for Dutch Bros. to get to the finals. They had a seven-inning battle with Gregg Carr Construction of Rainier on Saturday, finally winning 6-5.
The first two St. Helens runs in that game came in the top of the first. An error put Anderson on base, and then Tucker Mosley reached base on a single. A double by Norton sent both runners home. Rainier would tie up the game in the next two innings. They scored one in the first after a single by Caymen Rea, then another in the second off two errors.
Dutch Bros. took the lead again in the third inning. Ryan Davidson singled to reach first, and then scored on a single by Anderson.
Rainier tied up the game in the bottom of the sixth with two outs after two walks, and a couple of passed balls.
The St. Helens team again took the lead in the top of the seventh. Beisley reached base with a single, and then Norton cranked a homer deep over the fence in centerfield. After two outs, Zach Knight walked, and then scored on singles by Zach Raymond, and Dylan Brady.
Gregg Carr didn't go quietly. They got one runner on base through an error, and followed with two walks. The first runner was thrown out going for home, and then a single scored one run. Another run was walked in and the bases were loaded when the last out was made.
The TOC ended the Little League season for most of the players, but many will go on to play on their community's all-star teams.
Dutch Bros. 1, Fultano's 0
Dutch Bros. 000 100-1 3 1
Fultano's 000 000-0 0 2
Levi Norton and Colton Beisley; Will Burghardt and J. Karber.
Dutch Bros. 6, G. Carr 5 (7)
Dutch Bros. 201 000 3-6 10 4
Gregg Carr 110 001 2-5 2 1
Matt Anderson, Levi North (6), Tucker Mosley (7) and Colton Beisley; Casey Tripp, Dawson Carr (7) and John Graff.