The Lake Oswego Little League all-star team got to experience the road trip of a lifetime this week with its first-ever appearance in the Northwest regional tournament, which is being held, along with the Western regional, in San Bernardino, Calif.
The LO all-stars lost two of their first three pool games, but they were still in good position to advance to the regional semifinals. To do that, though, they needed to beat Montana on Wednesday.
Unfortunately, details of that Montana game were not available by press time.
Lake Oswego started off the regional tournament with a 7-4 loss to the Idaho all-star team from Boise. Idaho had only six hits in that game, but three of them were home runs.
Idaho used that power surge to jump to a 4-2 lead in the top of the third. That gave the Boise team a lead it would never relinquish. But the Oregon stars cut their deficit to 4-2 in the bottom of that frame.
Idaho then pushed its advantage to 5-2 in the fifth and then 7-2 in the sixth before Lake Oswego rallied with a pair of runs in the bottom of the final inning.
The Oregon team also had six hits, including home runs by Austin Andrews and Reid Penney. Each homer was a two-run shot, which accounted for all of Lake Oswego's runs.
'You've got to give Idaho credit, but we came out flat, just like we did at the state tournament,' Lake Oswego coach Craig Ramey said.
In the Oregon state tournament, Lake Oswego lost its first game to Centennial and then came back and won its next five to claim the state title.
Ramey was hoping for a similar scenario, especially after Lake Oswego bounced back from its loss to Idaho with a convincing 17-6 victory over Wyoming.
The Wyoming stars, who hail from Laramie, actually had a 3-0 lead before Lake Oswego woke up with 13 runs in the fifth inning. The Lakers then tacked on four more runs in the sixth to put the game away.
The final boxscore from that game was one the Lake Oswego players will probably want to save for their scrapbooks.
The Oregon stars had 17 hits in that contest, including four each by Andrews and Brenna Malagamba. Penney knocked in six runs with two home runs, including one 'that was just a bomb,' Ramey said.
In addition, Andrews and Malagamba each drove in three runs. And both of them scored three runs as well, as did Mitch Lomax, who logged a pair of doubles.
The easy victory allowed Ramey to conserve innings for his pitching staff as starter Levi Rudolph, Malagamba and Calvin Hermanson split the time on the mound almost equally.
If the LO stars had continued with their script from the Oregon state tourney, that would have led to a victory against Washington. But the all-star team from Kent has been unbeatable in the regional tournament and Lake Oswego wound up losing that game 14-7.
Things looked good, though, as Lake Oswego held a 3-1 lead through 2½ innings. Then everything came unraveled as Washington scored 11 runs in the bottom of the third to take a commanding 12-3 lead.
Lake Oswego tried to make it interesting with a four-run fifth, but Washington came back with two runs in the bottom of that frame to account for the final score.
Lake Oswego did get a home run from Malagamba, but that was the only extra-base hit for the Oregon all-stars.
With the victory, Washington finished an undefeated, four-game run through pool play. The Kent all-stars scored 60 runs in those four games and the only runs they yielded were scored by Oregon.
Through the first three games of the tourney, Andrews was 6-for-10 at the plate while Malagamba was 6-for-11. Penney had a team-high eight RBIs while Malagamba had seven and Andrews, who was batting in the lead-off spot, followed with six.