Murrayhill 10-11 stars win district

A come-from-behind win in the semi sets up another in the final
by: Miles Vance ON TO STATE — Murrayhill’s Kyle Knell delivers a pitch during his team’s 5-3 win over Lake Oswego in the District 4 10-11 all-star championship game on July 6.

TIGARD - The Murrayhill 10-11 baseball all-stars just knew.

After coming from behind late in the District 4 tournament semifinal the day before, Murrayhill just knew things were going to go their way in the July 6 championship against Lake Oswego at Cook Park.

And they were right. Murrayhill rallied from a 2-1 early-game deficit with three runs in the bottom of the second and used that advantage to pull away and win 5-3.

'At the beginning, I was kind of nervous, but when I started settling in, I kind of found my groove and I was OK,' said Murrayhill starter Kyle Knell, who held Lake Oswego to three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out eight. 'I just kind of pitched how I do every game.'

'I felt good when I woke up this morning, and it all just fell into place,' added first baseman/pitcher Joe Ball, who knocked in one run with a sacrifice fly and also pitched a perfect sixth inning in relief.

Murrayhill struck first in the bottom of the first frame when Knell doubled to right-center field with one out, took third on a Jake Bunn single, and scored on Ball's sacrifice fly to center.

But Lake Oswego, after wasting a leadoff single in the top of the first, pulled ahead 2-1 in the second. There, Josh Angle led off with a single to left, moved to third on Ryan Titus' double, then scored on a Murrayhill error. Then, one batter later, Titus took third and scored on a pair of wild pitches by Knell to give his team a 2-1 lead.

It wouldn't last long, though. Murrayhill answered with three runs in the bottom of the second and never trailed again. Nick Uchida got things started there with a double down the left field line, took third on a passed ball, and scored when Manny Castineira stroked an opposite-field single to left. Andrew Sirak then reached base on an error, and after a passed ball, both Castineira and Sirak came home to score when LO fumbled the ball away on Trey Lowe's strikeout.

Murrayhill tacked on its fifth run in the bottom of the fourth when Connor Fajardo got a one-out walk, stole second, took third on a groundout and scored on a passed ball.

'My team, I know they have good bats,' said Knell, who also went 2-for-3 at the plate and scored once. 'They're nice support, and they're great on defense too.'

Lake Oswego wasn't quite done yet, though. The team scored its final run in the top of the fifth, when Andrew Ramey led off with a single to right, took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on Skyler Loverink's infield hit, and came home when Angle ripped a long single off the base of the left field fence.

But Knell got Titus on a fielder's choice and struck out Harrison Bridwell to end the threat. Ball then came on to pitch a perfect sixth and seal his team's win.

'It was nice coming in after Kyle knowing that he set 'em down pretty good and I only had to get the last three batters,' Ball said.

For Murrayhill, Knell was the only player with multiple hits, while Bunn, Uchida and Castineira finished with one hit each. For LO, Angle went 2-for-3, scored once and knocked in two, and Seaman, Ramey, Loverink and Titus had one hit each. Pitcher Sam Haney allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks while striking out four.

Murrayhill will now advance to the 10-11 State Tournament, set for July 9-14 at Lakeside Little League in Portland.