Gresham starts with a 14-1 win over Estacada and goes on to claim the Weston Kia tournament crown

by: ESTACADA NEWS: PARKER LEE - Estacadas Zach Stamm tries for an out against Greshams Jaelen Bradley on a steal attempt at second base. The Estacada Rangers knew they had brought in some stiff competition when it hosted the Weston Kia Summer Baseball Festival over the weekend. They just didn’t expect some of those competitors to be quite as tough as they were.

Estacada ran into a red-hot Gresham team in the tournament opener and fell 14-1 in five innings. The Gophers tagged the ball early and often and would have won regardless, but Estacada made a host of mistakes that turned it into a blowout.

“I told our guys that if we want to be good one day, we have to play good teams, and compete with them,” Estacada coach Ryan Carpenter said. “I would have been okay with that being a 6-1 or 7-1 game, but quite frankly, we have got to do a better job making routine plays.”

It only took a few at-bats for the Rangers to see it wasn’t going to be their day. The first four Gresham hitters – Jaelen Bradley, Mason McCoy, Devon Shields and Trevor Nannini – opened the game with four base hits in-a-row. All four would eventually come around to score and Estacada was suddenly behind 4-0 before ever picking up a bat.

In the third inning, the Gophers padded their lead in a huge way. Estacada successfully retired the first two batters only to see the next 11 reach base safely. Those two-out Gresham base runners came about in almost every imaginable way. Some reached on hits, others on errors. A few others were walked or hit-by-pitch. The base paths almost resembled a sideways Ferris wheel where one player would make his way around and when he would got off, another would get on.

Gresham’s methodology for the big inning was just to put the ball in play. By doing that, the Gophers strung together hard-hit balls that tested the Estacada defense. The Rangers couldn’t get to most of those balls, and when they did, they made mistakes.

“There were a couple times when we could have gotten out of that inning without giving up any runs, or least only giving up a couple runs, if we had just fielded a groundball or made a throw,” Carpenter said.

Every player in the Gresham lineup scored in what turned into a nine-run third inning. With a 13-0 advantage, there was no longer a sense of pressure on the shoulders of the Gresham pitching staff and it shut down the Estacada offense. The Rangers only banged out three hits and one run before the mercy rule cut the game short.

Estacada’s Jarek Franklin reached base twice, had a hit and scored the Rangers’ lone run of the game to give the team a bit of an offensive spark.

“We are certainly going to work on fixing those mistakes we made,” Carpenter said. “That is what the summer is for. We have a pretty young group and they are learning, so getting this experience in the summer is huge for us because we definitely can’t afford to make some of those mistakes in the spring.”

? The Gophers went on to win the tournament beating Grant 6-1 in the semifinals and taking down Reynolds 16-4 in Sunday’s championship game. Gresham broke the title game open with nine runs in the fourth inning.

Reynolds advanced to the finale with an 11-2 win over North Salem in the semis.

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