Rainier wins final two Majors playoff games to clinch district title and move on to state
by: John Brewington  DIVING TAG—St. Helens’ Tucker Mosley dives to make a tag against Peninsula player during Saturday’s semifinal game. St. Helens lost and finished third in the tournament.

The Rainier Majors Little League team bounced back from a come-from-behind loss to St. Helens earlier in the week to win two games and take the District 1 championship on Sunday.

Rainier downed Hollywood, the No. 1 team from Pool A, on Saturday, and then whipped Peninsula on Sunday, 16-6.

St. Helens came up with a three-run, walk-off homer on Wednesday to clinch first place in Pool B, but stumbled against Peninsula in the semifinals on Saturday.

They would lose that game 4-2 in seven innings, but came back to top Hollywood 7-6 on Sunday for third. Christian Ross hit a single to score Tucker Mosley for the winning run in the bottom of the sixth.

The semifinal game the previous day was tied 2-2 after six innings. In the seventh, Peninsula loaded the bases with a hit batter, single, and a walk. Another walk sent a run home, and a passed ball allowed another run to score.

St. Helens would get two runners on base with one out in the bottom of the frame, advancing them to second and third. A play at first got them the second out and on the same play they caught the runner trying to go home to end the game.

The Lions got their two runs in the bottom of the third and it put them up 2-0. Haidon Allen reached base on an error, then Matt Anderson doubled to score one. Anderson advanced to third on the throw home, and would score on a passed ball. Peninsula got a run in the fourth and one in the fifth to knot the score.

Rainier now heads to Bend for the state tournament.

Comeback kids: Last ditch homer lifts St. and #8200;Helens to improbable win

Any baseball game that comes down to a final swing of the bat is special, but last Wednesday's come-from-behind win over Rainier was especially exciting and downright dramatic for the St. Helens Majors team.

The contest was an important pool game for the two rivals, the winner earning the No. 1 seed into Saturday and Sunday's championship rounds.

The game was close at the outset, but Rainier broke a 3-3 tie with a lone run and managed to build a seemingly commanding 6-3 lead going into the bottom of the last inning-the sixth.

The St. Helens' 11-12 year-olds were in a dilemma. The first batter was out, and then the next was hit by a pitch. With another out, the game seemed all but over. Another batter then reached base, and Levi Norton and Garrett Sukau both singled to drive in runs. It was just a 6-5 deficit.

Up came Tucker Mosley. The count ran to 3-2 and Rainier brought in another pitcher, ostensibly because of reaching a pitch count and wanting to save their pitcher for the weekend.

The next pitch was a high fastball and Mosley drilled it over the outfield fence for a walk-off, three-run homer.

'I was pretty happy,' said Mosley, son of Manager Ron Mosley. He was three for four on the day, and also pitched from mid-point on in the contest.

'You could feel the whole momentum starting to change in the bottom of the inning when we got within one. The excitement was building and then the whole place erupted,' dad said. It was a jubilant scene.

The homer changed strategy for St. Helens. They were able to use more pitchers on Thursday night against Scappoose, and save pitchers for the weekend finals. If they had lost to Rainier, they would have had to go all out against Scappoose to earn the finals, and the No. 2 spot. As the top team out of their pool, they were to face the No. 2 team from Pool A.

It gave St. Helens a leg up on winning district, and a chance to save their best pitcher for the championship finals.

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