It costs a lot for a team on a week-long trip to California
by: Self-portrait Sports Editor John Brewington

The Scappoose Juniors victory over Parrish Little League to win the state championship last Thursday was an impressive feat.

Scappoose outscored their opponents 66-5 in five state tournament games. They posted a 7-1 win in the finals. Scappoose coach Jeff Hering said he didn't know it going in, but the Parrish team they played had won 23 straight games. The district also went to Western Regionals in 2009. Scappoose hasn't gone since 1989.

Scappoose faced a team that presented the best defense they'd seen in the playoff season. Several Scappoose players got picked off base. While Scappoose had offensively dominated teams in state and district-111 runs in eight games-they faced a good pitcher that threw considerably slower than they were used to. He also threw a lot of 'junk'-curves, sliders and such.

Still, Scappoose prevailed. They never looked worried. They had a slim 2-1 lead going into the next-to-last inning and went out and scored five quick runs to clinch the title. Will Sprute was outstanding on the mound and was able to go the distance. He judiciously used his last seven pitches to get to the last batter and then struck him out. He had 15 Ks in the game.

Scappoose will face some equally impressive teams at the Western Nationals, but they have a superb pitching staff, and strong bats. They're aggressive on the base paths. They also face the toughest pool in the tournament. Both California teams are in the pool.

It won't be an easy task, but the coaches preach composure, and Scappoose has shown they can deal with adversity.

The 'what if' factor helped Scappoose in the state championship game. Such things as what if Scappoose hadn't scored five runs in the sixth and led just 2-1 going into the bottom of the seventh? What if pitcher Will Sprute had run out of pitches sooner? Those things didn't happen, but momentum can shift quickly and offer a better chance Parrish might have been left to control the outcome. It didn't happen.

Great game, great tournament, great team. No what ifs about it. Congratulations.

One of the hardest things for the Scappoose squad may be to raise enough money for the trip. It's not cheap to send 11 kids and three coaches for a week. The Little League national organization gives just a nominal amount-about $1,000 each way. While the local organization will help, their funds are also limited.

I saw Scappoose ball players in uniform out on the street in St. Helens on Monday, looking for donations. (They are tax deductible by the way). Manager Hering tells me they will have a barbecue and car wash at the Scappoose Middle School this Wednesday afternoon starting at 3 p.m.

This isn't a case of something for nothing. The young ball players have worked very hard to get where they are. This is not something that comes up very often. The last time they went was 21 years ago. And they are out trying to raise money now.

There are always folks out looking for a donation of one type or another. This is something the kids have earned and they need some help. A lot of the parents are going, but by the time you factor in flights, motel rooms, meals and transportation you are talking thousands of dollars. Not an easy thing for most, but it still makes it difficult to contribute more than they already are. Collectively, we can help. I'm going to take them a whole truckload of cans I've been too lazy to take to the store. It won't please my wife, but she won't take them to the store either. My truck needs to be washed, so I'll wait until Wednesday. That's quid pro quo as far as I'm concerned. I may throw in a big tip, too.

It's a good thing to support the kids. I hope they have a lot of success and make the Little League World Series in Michigan. A little more fund raising might be needed then.

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