The Tigard 10-11 softball team wins District 4 crown

by: DAN BROOD - GOOD TIMES -- The Tigard Little League 10-11 all-star softball team shares cheers and smiles during the postgame celebration.PORTLAND — Déja vu.

Sometimes, it can be a good thing — a real good thing.

Just ask the Tigard Little League ages 10-11 all-star softball team.

The squad, which includes many of the same players who won the ages 9-10 District 4 title a year ago, triumphed in district play again, downing Forest Grove 18-2 in the District 4 Tournament championship game, played July 2 at Alpenrose Stadium.

“It’s déja vu,” Tigard’s Grace Nelson said after the victory. “It’s very good.”

“It’s a good déja vu, but I didn’t cry this time,” added Tigard’s Kaylee Mo, who shed tears of joy following the team’s district title victory last year.

“This means a lot to us,” said Victoria Vanderburg, who was the winning pitcher in the district tourney final. “It’s great fun.”

With the tournament championship, the Tigard team advances to play in the Oregon State 10-11 Tournament, which starts Saturday at Leslie Middle School in Salem.

“State, here we come,” Tigard first baseman Abby Soderquist said.

by: DAN BROOD - LEFTY POWER -- Tigard's Victoria Vanderburg fires in a pitch during the team's win over Forest Grove in the District 4 championship game.Tigard will open the six-team state tourney Saturday with an 11 a.m. pool play game against District 9 champion East Lane/South Valley. At 5 p.m. on Saturday, Tigard will face District 7 champion West Valley at 5 p.m.

On Sunday, tourney semifinal games will played at 1 p.m., with the winners of those games meeting in the state championship game, set to be played at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

“We want to win it,” said Vanderburg, who was part of the Tigard team that finished third at last year’s ages 9-10 state tournament.

“We need to stay focused,” Tigard shortstop Elli Dardis said. “And believe in ourselves.”

“We want to do well,” Tigard manager Steven Dardis said. “Like last year, we’ve got that feeling again. We were third last year, and you always want to do better.”

Well, it may be hard for Tigard to top its performance in last week’s district tourney title game, where it dominated from start to finish.

Tigard struck early, getting three runs in the top of the first inning.

Riley White drew a leadoff walk and quickly stole second base to get things started. Kaitlyn Gearin followed with an infield single. White and Gearin both ended up scoring on a Forest Grove error, giving by: DAN BROOD - INTO PLAY -- Tigard's Emily Torres hits an infield single during the second inning of the team's District 4 Tournament title-game victory.Tigard an early 2-0 advantage. Elli Dardis, who drew a walk, would score on a groundout by Emilie Otto to push Tigard’s first-inning lead to 3-0.

Forest Grove scored a run in the bottom of the first to make the score 3-1, but Forest Grove wouldn’t get any closer the rest of the way.

Tigard scored eight runs in the top of the second inning to open up an 11-1 lead.

Dardis and Vanderburg had back-to-back two-run doubles in the big inning. Nelson added an RBI in the frame and Otto stole home.

Tigard then added on four more runs in the top of the third inning to really break the game open.

Mo had the big hit in that inning with a bases-loaded triple that plated Dardis, Vanderburg and Sophia VanderSommen. Mo also scored on a Forest Grove error on the play, making the score 15-1.

“I hit a home run, sort of,” Mo said with a smile. “It was awesome.”

“It was spectacular,” Vanderburg added.

by: DAN BROOD - HEADING HOME -- Riley White (left) scores Tigard's first run during the District 4 title contest.Tigard capped off its scoring with a three-run fourth inning. Soderquist stole home in a rundown and VanderSommen and Mo each drew bases-loaded walks to up the lead to 18-1. Forest Grove got a run in the bottom of the frame to make the final score 18-2.

“We believed that we would win, and we did” Emily Torres said. “We were excited to go back and take a picture by the scoreboard again this year.”

Vanderburg pitched the distance for Tigard in the victory.

In four innings of work, she gave up two runs on one hit while striking out seven and walking four.

“It was good,” Vanderburg said with a smile. “I got my groove on.”

by: DAN BROOD - SAFE TO SECOND -- Tigard's Elli Dardis (right) slides safely to second base on a stolen-base attempt during last week's District 4 ages 10-11 tournament final. Tigard scored an 18-2 win over Forest Grove. Tigard, as a team, had nine hits in the victory.

Elli Dardis went 3 for 3 at the plate with a double, four runs scored, two RBIs and a stolen base.

Gearin scored three runs while White and Soderquist each scored two runs. Mo led the team with four RBIs. Vanderburg drove in a pair of runs and also scored twice. Nelson, Otto and Sophia VanderSommen each scored a run and drove in a run. Torres had a hit and a run. Ella Dearborn added a hit.

“It’s no fluke, we did it again,” Steven Dardis said. “The girls have been working really hard for this.”

by: DAN BROOD - DISTRICT CHAMPS -- The Tigard Little League ages 10-11 all-star softball team poses with the District 4 championship banner following the squad's win over Forest Grove in the district tourney title game. Other members of the district champion Tigard team include Kaitlyn Cafarelli and Alexa VanderSommen. Mark Torres and Bill Gearin are coaches.

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