Nationals win on mercy rule, headed for Regionals
Six-run inning powers Gresham to a 10-0 win over Sprague in state Little League final
PORTLAND Gresham National came alive Saturday afternoon for a 10-0 win over Sprague to claim the majors (ages 11-12) Little League state championship.
Lead-off hitter Devon Bratcher got the team going by laying down a bunt and zipping all the way around to third base on an Olympians overthrow. Tyler Linch connected for a sacrifice fly to right field in the next at-bat, allowing Bratcher to slide in for a quick 1-0 lead.
Gresham put the game out of reach with a six-run spurt in the second inning, stringing together five straight hits to start the rally. Greg Mehlhaff and Hunter Hemenway each slapped run-scoring hits into left field to make it 7-0.
Mehlhaff struck again in the fourth inning by bouncing one over the center-field fence for a ground-rule double. The Nationals ended the game early on the mercy rule when Ethan Rose connected for a double, and came around to score the games final run when Sprague missed a throw trying to catch him on the base paths.
The Nationals advance to the Northwest Regionals starting Aug. 3, in San Bernardino, Calif.
This marks the third time Gresham has sent a team to Regionals, also reaching that round in 1978 and 1997.
Look for extended championship coverage in the Tuesday, July 31, edition of The Outlook.