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Tigard starts strong at tourney


The Little League all-star baseball team opens with a win

by: DAN BROOD - TAGGED OUT -- Tigard Little League catcher Nathan Ibarra (left) tags out Cedar Mill's Daniel Hext during play Sunday at the District 4 ages 10-11 all-star tourament being played at Cook Park. Tigard split its first two games at the tournament. TIGARD — The Tigard Little League ages 10-11 all-star baseball team got off to a roaring start to the District 4 tournament.

The Tigard squad didn’t fare as well in its second game of the tourney, but the team’s players say they’re still battling hard, they’re still having fun and they’re still looking to make plenty of noise at the tournament, which is being held at Cook Park.

“It’s been real fun,” Tigard’s Holden Hughes said following the team’s 8-1 loss to a hard-hitting Cedar Mill team in a tourney pool play game played Sunday.

“We’ve been soaking up the experience,” Ethan Clark added.

Tigard made a big splash to open the District 4 tournament, as it scored a 7-3 victory over perennial power Murrayhill in a tourney pool play opener on Saturday.

“We played a great game,” Tigard manager Ryan Smith said.

“We all did a good job hitting,” Holden said of the victory.

“And we played clean defense,” Clark said. “That was really exciting, because Murrayhill is always good.”

“We played a good all-around game,” Trevor Smith said. “It was the first game of the tournament, so it was really good to win it.”

Graham Oelke, Trevor Smith and Clark all pitched for Tigard in the victory, with Oelke getting the start on the mound and Clark closing down the win.

Tigard belted out 12 hits in the win. Holden helped lead the offensive attack, coming off the bench to go 3 for 3 at the plate.

In Sunday’s game, Tigard found itself facing an early deficit against Cedar Mill, which looks to be one of the tournament favorites.

Cedar Mill got one run in the bottom of the first inning, coming on an RBI double by Daniel Hext.

Cedar Mill then added on five more runs in the second inning, with the big hit of the frame being a two-run double by Hext, to up its lead to 6-0.

But Tigard tried to fight its way back the rest of the contest.

Tigard, striking with two outs and the bases empty, pushed a run across the plate in the top of the third inning.

Clark drew a two-out walk to get things started. Drew Carter followed with an infield single and Cooper Justice then singled to center field to load the bases. Daniel Wills kept things going with a single to center, driving in Clark to cut the Cedar Mill lead to 6-1.

A Ceder Mill run in the bottom of the third upped the margin to 7-1, but Tigard kept battling.

Nathan Ibarra led off the top of the fourth for Tigard with a single to right field. Joey Gatto added a two-out infield single, but they were left stranded on base.

Trailing 8-1, Tigard got back-to-back singles by Clark and Drew Carter to lead off the top of the fifth inning. But, again, Cedar Mill was able to escape the jam unscathed.

In the sixth inning, Tigard got a one-out single by Oelke, but Tigard wasn’t able to bring him home, leaving Cedar Mill with the 8-1 victory.

“They hit them to where we weren’t,” Ryan Smith said. “I thought our pitchers did well.”

“We just tried to keep battling,” Clark said.

“We hit it right to them,” Holden said. “And they hit it in the gaps.”

Tigard had eight hits in the contest. Drew Carter had a pair of hits while Clark, Justice, Wills, Ibarra, Gatto and Oelke added one hit apiece.

Tigard also had some strong defensive plays in the game, including a spectacular diving catch of fly ball in right field by Gatto.

Tigard was schedule to face Westview in a pool play game on Wednesday. Results of that game weren’t available when The Times went to press, due to early holiday deadlines.

Tigard will be back in action today (Wednesday) when it faces Lake Oswego in a pool play game starting at 6 p.m.

The tournament semifinals will be played Saturday, with games starting at 6 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.

The District 4 tournament championship contest will be played Sunday at 6 p.m.

Tigard says it will be ready for its future tournament opponents, even a rematch with Cedar Mill.

“We need to talk more,” Holden said.

“And play good defense,” Trevor Smith said.