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Ripken team claims Northern Oregon crown

Sandys 12U squad dominates weekend tournament


by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Colby Carson waits for his pitch during the teams run to the Northern Oregon title last weekend in West Linn. WEST LINN — Sandy Pride, the 12-and-under all-star team from Sandy, has carried out a ritual before every Cal Ripken baseball game this summer. After warming up, the players and coaches always go toe-to-toe in a spirited game of Wiffle Ball.

“It gets their blood flowing,” Sandy coach Chris Hutchings said. “It gives them a chance to have some fun and be competitive. It has been our good-luck charm.”

At the state tournament on Friday, Wiffle Ball came through for Sandy Pride again. The all-stars from Sandy won the Northern Oregon championship, sparked by a dominating 12-1 win over host West Linn in the opener.

“It’s all about momentum in the state tournament, especially having such high competition,” Hutchings said.

Hutchings’ crew pounced in the first two innings and choked out West Linn early. Sandy scored four runs in its first at-bat and exploded for eight runs in the second inning.

The key for Sandy was its selective approach at the plate. It only had six base hits in the game, but took advantage of shaky West Linn pitching. Sandy drew nine walks and had one hit batsman. Of those 10 free base runners, seven came in to score.

“Our patience at the plate was huge,” Hutchings said. “We mixed walks and hits, and good base running to score big. You can’t ever let up or you will go home real quick.”

The nail in West Linn’s coffin came when Josh Paugh blasted a three-run homer in the second to make it an 11-1 game. From there, Sandy breezed to the mercy-rule win.

Right after the big victory over West Linn, Sandy enjoyed another Wiffle Ball game, then kept rolling against Lakeridge. The Sandy all-stars surrendered a run in the top of the first inning, but went on to score eight unanswered runs to prevail, 8-1.

By taking both pool-play games on Friday, Sandy earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament bracket. In the first round of the double-elimination bracket, Sandy again took on Lakeridge, where it won 10-1. That win put Sandy in the semifinals, where it took another game from West Linn to claim a berth in the championship game.

West Linn worked its way through the losers’ bracket and got one more shot at Sandy. By a score of 11-8, Sandy outlasted West Linn one final time to claim the title.

On its road to the championship, Sandy outscored its opponents 51-16 and chalked up at least eight runs in all five of its wins.

Sandy will play in the Pacific Northwest Regional tournament in Centralia, Wash. on July 28th and 29th. The winner of that tournament will qualify for the Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen, Md.