LAKE OSWEGO The Gresham Americans finished unbeaten in pool play after dispatching St. Helens on the mercy rule 10-0 on Tuesday night at the rookie (ages 9-10) Little League state tournament.
The Americans scored in every inning, moving out to a 2-0 lead in their first at-bats after Zach Jones drew a bases-loaded walk.
Gresham put the game out of reach with a five-run spurt in the second inning, stringing together five straight run-producing hits during one stretch. Josiah Wolcott got the scoring spree started with a shot down the third-base line that rolled all the way to the warning track in left field for an RBI-double.
Jaden Fulsher followed with an RBI-double that bounced off the fence in center field. Teammates Kanyan Wallace, Jones and Evan Inglesby added a string of singles to stretch the margin to 7-0.
We are a team of really good base runners, and that allows us to advance on every opportunity given to us, Gresham coach Ryan Weber said.
Gresham added two more runs in the third and finished the game early when Inglesby led off the fourth inning with a double and came around to score three batters later when Wilson Weber drew a bases-loaded walk.
The Americans overcame early deficits to win each of their first three games before scoring the blowout win over St. Helens.
These kids never get their heads down and give it their all every time, Weber said.
St. Helens best scoring chance came in the third inning when a triple got all the way to the left-field fence, but Greshams Weston Radke was quick to track it down and the relay home found catcher Jones set up about five feet inside home plate. He secured the ball and twisted his body in a diving tag attempt, clipping the cleats of the St. Helens lead runner for the out.
Gresham pitcher Wolcott struck out the next batter to strand another runner at third. He did the same in the first inning when St. Helens left the bases loaded.
The Americans join Murrayhill and LaGrande as perfect 4-0 teams entering Fridays semifinals. Gresham will face LaGrande at 7 p.m., while Murrayhill takes on Grants Pass at 4:30 p.m. The winners play for the state title at 1 p.m. Saturday. The tournament is being held at Westlake Park in Lake Oswego.
Weve all been pretty pumped up, Weber said. We didnt anticipate our season lasting this long, but well take it.
In fact, assistant coach Guy Wolcott has had to postpone a pair of planned vacations to Central Oregon because the team keeps winning.
Look for recaps of the team's earlier pool-play games in the Friday, July 20, edition of The Outlook.