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Red Sox Juniors are 2nd in the state


South Clackamas Junior Nationals excel

by: SUBMITTED - South Clackamas Red Sox pose proudly with their championship hardware from the recent Clackamas County Junior Baseball Junior National Championship Tournament. The Sox were tough to beat in 2014, earning a 32-3 record and finishing second at the state tournament. Pictured are Rex Sox players and coaches: (front row, from left) Shepard Percival, Michael Percival, Rory Greco-Hall, Bailey Hellberg, Anthony Chinchilla and Austin Pottratz; (second row) coach Dave Percival, Dominic Loeb, Linden MacKenzie, Patrick Raschio, Matt Woolcott, Brody Blanchfill, Jackson Stone and coach Russ Loeb; and (back) head coach Doug Hall, Zach Lemmon and coach Jerry Stone.Persistence and hard work has paid dividends for a group of young men from the Oregon City area.

They call themselves the South Clackamas Red Sox and last weekend they capped off a tremendous season of Junior Baseball with a runner-up finish at the Junior National State Championship Tournament in Lebanon.

The high finish at the state tournament was all the more impressive for the Sox because several of the boys on the team had been to state twice before, but this was the first time they had even won a single game at a state championship tournament.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the way these kids battled all season long,” said Red Sox coach Doug Hall. “It’s a testament to 13 kids coming together and each of them contributing to our success. Whether it was a caught fly ball in the outfield to stop another team’s momentum or a huge at bat to knock in a needed run, these kids came together and did what they needed to do to get it done as a team. And every one of them contributed in some way.”

It wasn’t just at the state tournament that the Red Sox excelled. Their season record was 32-3 — with two of the losses at the state tournament, they went a perfect 16-0 during the regular league season and they earned their spot at the state tournament with a first-place finish in the county championship Junior National Tournament.

They went 4-2 in the double elimination state tournament, forcing state champion Central Linn to a second state championship game in order for the Cobras to claim the state title.

The Red Sox won a couple of barnburners in their first two games at the state tournament, defeating Keizer 10-9 and Washougal 5-4.

They then lost to Central Linn 11-7, but bounced back with a 14-10 win over Glencoe to earn another shot at Central Linn. They defeated Central Linn 7-6 in their rematch with the Cobras, forcing the second title game, which they lost to the Cobras 6-2.

The county tournament was no cakewalk for South Clackamas. After turning to the mercy rule to defeat Wilsonville 12-2 in four innings, the Sox had to go to extra innings to top Putnam 10-7 in the semifinal; and they topped an upset-minded team from Clackamas 12-8 in the county championship game.

“All season long, these kids have been competitors,” said Hall. “We were down 6-2 going into the bottom of the sixth of the [county] semifinal.”

Vying for the Red Sox were: Michael Percival (catcher/pitcher/shortstop), Rory Greco-Hall (pitcher/third base/shortstop), Zach Lemmon (third base/pitcher), Linden Mackenzie (shortstop/pitcher/catcher), Dominic Loeb (first base/pitcher), Sheppard Percival (second base/first base), Jackson Stone (second base), Matt Woolcott (outfield), Brody Blanchfill (outfield), Anthony Chinchilla (centerfield/third base), Bailey Hellberg (centerfield/outfield), Patrick Raschio (outfield/first base) and Austin Pottratz (outfield).

Hall said that pitching was a huge part of the South Clackamas success story.

“In addition to hitting the ball, we have four solid pitchers and two outstanding catchers,” Hall said, following the county tournament. “We’ve thrown out at least one person in every game this year, through pickoffs or steals. Our pitchers and catchers have been phenomenal.”

Hall said that his ball club had 41 putouts on pickoffs or stolen base attempts through the county tournament.

Linden Mackenzie and Michael Percival got the job done behind the plate, while Mackenzie, Percival, Rory Greco-Hall and Zach Lemmon excelled on the mound.

Through the county championship tournament, Mackenzie had a 2.70 ERA, with 86 strikeouts in 44 innings; Greco-Hall had a 3.67 ERA, with 40 strikeouts in 34 innings; Percival had a 4.64 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 28 innings; and Lemmon had a 4.96 ERA, with 37 strikeouts in 18 innings.

Top sluggers were Mackenzie, with an incredible .667 batting average; Percival, at .589; and Anthony Chinchilla, at .585. MacKenzie had a team-leading 39 RBI.

Heading into the state tournament, South Clackamas’ leadoff hitter, Percival, had scored a team-high 41 runs and he had not struck out once, according to coach Hall.

Raschio had a hot bat in South Clackamas’ three state tournament games on Sunday, going 3-for-5, with two doubles and a single. MacKenzie hit a solo home run in Saturday’s 11-7 loss to Central Linn.

Raschio also drove in the winning run with a sixth-inning base hit in the Red Sox’s 5-4 state tournament win over Washougal. The Sox trailed 4-3 heading into the final inning of that game. Lemmon and Mackenzie were tough on the mound, together sending 16 batters down swinging.

“Dominic Loeb was huge for us on Sunday,” said Hall. “He is not one of our main pitchers, but he came through when we needed him, giving us four strong innings against Glencoe and two solid innings in our first championship game [with Central Linn].”

Nursing a 7-5 lead, the Red Sox broke their game open in their county final with Clackamas with four runs in the top of the fifth. Mackenzie had a home run in the fourth inning, his second of the county tournament.

Lemmon went 2-for-3 with his bat and scored twice. Anthony Chinchilla and Patrick Raschio also scored twice to help bring South Clackamas the victory.

Greco-Hall, Mackenzie and Percival took turns on the mound.

In the county semifinal with Putnam, South Clackamas scored four runs in the top of the sixth and four more runs in the top of the seventh to pull out the 10-7 extra-inning win. Putnam scored just one run in the final two innings.

Mackenzie, Percival, Lemmon and Greco Hall all took a turn on the mound. MacKenzie picked off a runner at first, while Percival gunned down two runners stealing from behind the plate.

Chinchilla, Patrick Raschio and Jackson Stone starred with their bats. Chinchilla went 3-for-3 and scored twice; Raschio had two hits, including a two-run triple in the seventh; Stone went 2-for-3 and scored twice.

Greco-Hall carried much of the load in the 12-2 four-inning rout of Wilsonville. He pitched all four innings, striking out seven, while allowing just two hits and picking off a base runner. Percival turned a few heads when he threw out a runner stealing third.

MacKenzie went 2-for-2 with his bat, with a double and a home run.

“Five of these kids have played together for five years, and it’s been fun watching them grow,” Hall said of Percival, Lemmon, Greco-Hall, Mackenzie and Anthony Chinchilla. “They placed third in the county as Midget Nationals and they were county champions last year as Junior Nationals. But this is the first time they’ve gone undefeated in league.”

“The kids were sad that they didn’t win the state tournament,” said Hall. “But they were just ecstatic about winning four games at state and finishing second out of 76 teams.”