The Tigard Little League ages 9-10 all-star team wins 13-5 in the state tourney third-place game

by: DAN BROOD - TERRIFIC TEAM -- The Tigard Little League all-star softball players and coaches all hold up three fingers following the team's 13-5 win over Lents in the Oregon State Tournament third-place game. SCAPPOOSE — Well, they didn’t finish the season as state champions.

But they finished with an impressive victory.

They also finished with a celebration.

They finished with big smiles on all of their faces and they finished up knowing they’re the third best team in the state.

Players on the Tigard Little League ages 9-10 all-star softball team concluded their win-laden summer season by running to a 13-5 win over Lents Little League in the third-place game of the Oregon State Tournament, held Tuesday at Chinook Fields in Scappoose.

“It’s really awesome,” Tigard’s Emily Torres said after the win. “We’re third in the state. It’s cool.”

“It feels awesome,” said Victoria Vanderburg. “It means a lot to us.”

“It would have been nice to win yesterday (when Tigard was edged 3-1 by Klamath Falls in a state tourney semifinal game),” Abby Soderquist said. “But third in state is pretty good.”

“I’m proud of the team and our effort,” Taylor Corcoran said. “All of our practices paid off.”by: DAN BROOD - HERE IT COMES -- Tigard's Victoria Vanderburg gets ready to fire in a pitch during Tuesday's state tournament third-place game.

“It was softball all day, every day,” Grace Nelson added with a smile.

“It was definitely worth all the work,” Riley White said.

The Tigard team, which previously won the District 4 championship, finished its summer season with a final record of 10-2, with the two losses being by a total of just three runs.

“Every time we played, we got better,” Tigard’s Emilie Otto said.

“The girls played really well and they had a lot of fun,” Tigard manager Steven Dardis said. “I don’t know if anyone thought we’d make it out of district. But the girls believed in themselves and they were so positive that they had us believing.”

Tigard, which went 4-0 in state tournament pool play (see related story), faced an early deficit in Tuesday’s third-place game, as Lents scored a run in the top of the first inning.

But Tigard answered back with three runs in its half of the frame.

Kaitlin Gearin got things started by drawing a one-out walk. Gearin moved to second base, and then third, on a pair of wild pitches. She then scored Tigard’s first run of the game when she beat a throw to home plate following a grounder by Sophia VanderSommen.

VanderSommen scored later in the inning on a fielder’s choice grounder by Vanderburg, who would then go on to score on a Lents error to give Tigard a 3-1 lead at the end of the opening inning.

by: DAN BROOD - EYE ON THE BALL -- Tigard's Riley White takes a swing during Tuesday's third-place game at the Oregon Little League State Tournament.Lents scored two runs in the top of the third inning to tie the game at 3-3, but, again, Tigard answered back in the bottom of the frame.

The speedy Gearin again got things rolling for Tigard. She walked to lead off the inning. She then stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Then, for the second time, Gearin outraced a throw to the plate, scoring on a fielder’s choice grounder by VanderSommen to give Tigard a 4-3 lead.

Vanderburg singled home VanderSommen later in the inning to up the margin to 5-3.

Persistent Lents came back to get a run in the top of the fourth inning to trim the lead to 5-4.

Tigard, yet again, answered back in its half of the frame.

And, once again, it was Gearin who lit the fuse.

by: DAN BROOD - GOT HER -- Tigard's Sophia VanderSommen (right) holds up the ball after tagging out Lent's Ellie Greene in Tuesday's game.This time, she laced a one-out single down the left-field line. She stole second base, moved to third on a groundout by VanderSommen and then scored on Corcoran’s two-out single to right field. Corcoran then scored on Vanderburg’s deep single to center field, pushing the margin to 7-4 at the end of the inning.

After Gearin, pitching in relief, put Lents down in order in the top of the fifth inning, Tigard all but put the game away by scoring six runs in the bottom of the frame.

Soderquist got the bit inning started with a leadoff infield single. She stole second base, moved on to third on a wild pitch and scored on another wild pitch to make the score 8-4.

With one out in the frame, Nelson and White drew back-to-back walks. Gearin followed with an RBI single, driving in Nelson. White then scored on a groundout by Sophia VanderSommen and Corcoran plated Gearin with a single to right to up the margin to 11-4.

Tigard kept on rolling from there. Vanderburg singled in Corcoran and Kaylee Mo followed with an RBI single to center field, driving Torres to cap off the big inning and give Tigard a 13-4 DAN BROOD - SHE'S SAFE -- Tigard's Kaitlyn Gearin (right) slides past the tag of Lents catcher Ellie Greene in Tuesday's Oregon State Tournament third-place game. Tigard won 13-5.

Lents, not giving up, got a run in the top of the fifth inning, when Jasmine Sanchez singled in Ellie Greene, but Tigard got a game-ending groundout to wrap up third place and start the team’s celebration.

“We really worked together,” Tigard’s Alexa VanderSommen said of the victory.

“We all had faith in everyone,” said Elli Dardis, who missed the tournament due to injury, but came through loud and clear in helping keep spirits high in the dugout.

Tigard, as a team, pounded out 13 hits in the victory.

Vanderburg went 3 for 4 at the plate with a run scored and four RBIs. Corcoran went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Soderquist went 3 for 4 with a run scored. Gearin went 2 for 2 with two walks, two stolen bases, an RBI and four runs scored. Mo added a pair of hits.

Vanderburg, Gearin and Corcoran all pitched for Tigard in the win.

by: DAN BROOD - WE'RE NO. 3 -- Tigard's Kaylee Mo holds three fingers in the air following the team's win in the state tournament third-place game.Tigard also got some strong defensive play, including a crucial play in the fourth inning when Nelson, playing at second base, threw out Greene at home plate, with Sophia VanderSommen making the tag.

“All of the girls played very well,” Steven Dardis said. “Third place, that’s not bad.”

Certainly not. But, it seemed like the Tigard girls got more out of the summer than just the lofty third-place achievement.

“We did great,” Mo said. “But my favorite part was hanging out with these guys.”

“We all became close — like a big family,” Vanderburg said.

Mark Corcoran and Bill Gearin are the Tigard coaches.

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