Sandy wins Northern Oregon state baseball crown
CAL RIPKEN BASEBALL - Pioneers' 10U squad beats West Linn twice to take Ripken state crown
Tied 8-8 in the final inning, Sandy had two runners on base and nobody out. The safe play was to drop down a bunt, advance the runners and wait for a scoring opportunity to present itself. Sandy manager Chris Hutchings wasn't about to take that route.
Instead, he flashed the sign calling for lead-runner Joseph Barry to swipe third base.
He completed the task easily, moving halfway down the line before West Linn knew what hit them. He slid safely into the bag, while a panicked through flew high and bounced into left field. Barry picked himself out of the dirt and rushed home for the winning run in Sandy's 9-8 win Saturday at the Cal Ripken 10U Northern Oregon state tournament.
'We wanted to put something on that would surprise them and take them off guard,' Hutchings said. 'Their catcher is a real good player, so we didn't run much against them in our three games earlier in the year.'
The nailbiting win officially came in the semifinal round, but Sandy's coaches had little doubt that Saturday's winner would be the one holding the trophy at the end of the tournament.
'We felt that Saturday's game was really the championship game,' Hutchings said. 'Having to come back the next day and win three straight was going to be a tough task.'
That prediction held true, as the teams met again in Sunday's finale with Sandy scoring a lopsided 12-2 victory.
The Pioneers got down 2-0 early, but strung together five straight singles to move ahead to stay 3-2 after two innings. Sandy didn't give up a run the rest of the way, turning the tide when Carson and Zach Hutchings combined on a double play to end the third inning.
'After that, you looked over at the other side, and you could see in their faces that the game was over,' Chris Hutchings said.
Sandy advances to the eight-team Pacific Northwest Regional tournament Wednesday through Sunday, July 20-24, in East Wenatchee, Wash.
Look for extended coverage in the July 20 edition of The Sandy Post.