The home team runs past Cedar Mill to claim the District 4 championship

by: DAN BROOD - VICTORY -- The Tigard Little League 10-11 baseball team celebrates following the win over Cedar Mill.TIGARD — It’s been a long time since a Tigard Little League all-star baseball team won a district championship and went on to play in a state tournament.

But the 2014 Tigard Little League ages 10-11 all-star squad changed all that — and the team changed it in impressive fashion.

The Tigard Little League team, coming up big at just the right time, sprinted to a 15-5 win over Cedar Mill in the District 4 Tournament championship game, played Saturday at Cook Park.

The district title was the first for any Tigard Little League all-star baseball team since 2005.

by: DAN BROOD - BRINGING IT -- Tigard's Mike Brannon lets it fly during team's 15-5 win over Cedar Mill in Saturday's District 4 ages 10-11 tournament title game.“This means a lot to us,” Tigard’s Joey Myers said after the victory. “For the first two games (of the tournament), we struggled. After those games, we tried to elevate our game.”

“At the beginning, we weren’t doing good,” said Mike Brannon, who was the winning pitcher in Saturday’s title contest. “But we worked our way up and got better.”

“The boys played great,” Tigard manager Greg Bui said. “All 12 of them came to play today. And to see them play like they did today was great. It means a lot to us.”

With the district championship, Tigard advances to play in the Oregon State Tournament, which will also be held at Cook Park.

“We’re going to state,” Myers said with a smile.

by: DAN BROOD - ON THE RUN -- Tigard's Sean Murphy (right) looks to get away from Cedar Mill's Cole Newcombe in Saturday's district title contest.Play at the eight-team Oregon State Tournament begins with pool play games on Saturday. Pool play contests will run through Tuesday. The tourney semifinals will be played Wednesday at 6 p.m. and the state championship contest is slated for 6 p.m. next Thursday.

“Oh yeah, we’re excited big time for state,” Myers said.

“We want to win it,” Brannon said.

“Yeah, win it all,” Myers added.

One of the things that could help Tigard in that quest is that the tourney will be played at Cook Park.

“That’s a huge advantage,” Myers said.

“That’s nice,” Bui said of the home-field advantage. “And it’s such an honor to represent our city and our district. That’s special.”

Tigard will open the state tournament Saturday when it faces Medford National at 1 p.m. On Sunday, Tigard will play Reynolds at 10 a.m. On Monday, Tigard will play Wilshire-Riverside at 6 p.m. Tigard will finish pool play Tuesday when it plays Ashland at 6 p.m.

The state tourney semifinal games will be played Wednesday at 6 p.m. and the state championship contest is slated for 6 p.m. next Thursday.

The Tigard team should have plenty of momentum on its side following its impressive performance it the district title-game win over a talented Cedar Mill squad.

by: DAN BROOD - GAME OVER -- Tigard's Kolby Shimojima slides home with the final run in Saturday's title game.In that contest, Cedar Mill struck for a pair of runs in the top of the first inning.

But Tigard answered back — in a big, big way — in the bottom of the frame, pushing nine runs across t the plate to take a 9-2 lead.

“That was fun,” Brannon said of the first-inning explosion. “We all just kept hitting the ball. That had us all excited to hit even more.”

Sean Murphy started the first-inning scoring parade for Tigard. He drove in both Ty Penn and Mike McNamee with a one-out single to right field, tying the game at 2-2.

After Brannon drew a walk, Jack Hallam singled in Murphy to give Tigard a 3-2 lead, which it wouldn’t give up the rest of the game.

Tigard, getting a two-run double by Justice Jackson, an RBI single by Kolby Shimojima and a two-run single by McNamee, stretched its lead to 9-2 at the end of the opening inning.

“Everyone just wanted to keep on hitting,” Myers said.

Cedar Mill got a run in the top of the second inning to cut the margin to 9-3, but, again, Tigard answered back.

Hallam singled to center field to lead off the bottom of the second inning, and Aden Murphy followed with an RBI double to the fence in center field, making the score 10-3. Penn singled in Brayden Smith later in the frame, and Shimojima doubled in Penn to up the margin to 12-3.

by: DAN BROOD - THE CHAMPS -- The Tigard Little League ages 10-11 all-star baseball team stands with the District 4 championship banner following the squad's 15-5 win over Cedar Mill in Saturday's district tourney title game. Tigard opens state tournament play on Saturday. Going into the bottom of the fourth inning, Tigard held a 12-5 advantage, but was looking to put the game away.

Myers singled to center field to open the inning. Two outs later, he scored on Penn’s single to center field. Shimojima followed with a single to left. McNamee then singled in Penn to make the score 14-5, putting Tigard one run away by ending the game by virtue of the 10-run lead rule.

With Shimojima on third base, Cedar Mill, looking to intentionally walk Sean Murphy, threw a wild pitch. Shimojima, sprinting to the plate, was able to score on the play, igniting Tigard’s championship celebration.

“We were all thinking that he was going to be able to score,” Myers said. “It was so much fun.”

Brannon, pitching the first three innings of the contest, gave up five runs (three earned) on five hits while striking out two and intentionally walking one.

“I felt good,” he said. “I wasn’t nervous at all.”

Myers pitched a perfect fourth inning, striking out two.

Tigard, as a team, had 17 hits in the contest.

Sean Murphy went 3 for 3 at the plate with a double, a run scored and two RBIs. Penn went 3 for 4 with four runs scored and two RBIs. Shimojima went 3 for 4 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs.

Hallam went 2 for 2 with two runs scored and an RBI. McNamee went 2 for 4 with a run and three RBIs. Jackson, Aden Murphy and Smith added one run apiece.

In addition to the tournament championship, the Tigard team also claimed the Sportsmanship Award for the tourney.

“This is an exceptional group,” Bui said. “They’re good kids with good parents.”

Other members of the Tigard team include Jackson Bui and Holden Hughes. Brian Murphy and Mark Murphy are coaches with the team.

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