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Legendsí outfielder Eli Wisdom made this diving catch in the championship game against Titan Diamond of Vancouver, Wash., Sunday in Pendleton. The Legends went 5-0 at the Summer Kick-off Tournament, improving their season mark to 8-1. (Trina Lankford/For The Observer)
PENDLETON — The McDonald’s/Legacy Ford Legends American Legion baseball team had no trouble scoring runs this weekend at the Summer Kick-off Tournament in Pendleton.
The Legends put up 41 runs while going 5-0 to capture the tournament title against Titan Diamond (Vancouver, Wash.) 8-3 on Sunday.
“Ultimately, our defense and our pitching allowed us to go into Sunday as the No. 1 seed after pool play,” Legends head coach Parker McKinley said. “Our kids did a great job competing all weekend. We played calm and confident. I was proud as heck of our boys. They represented us well.”
Mitch Workinger’s complete-game, four-hitter in the championship game helped seal the deal for the Legends.
Workinger went seven innings and struck out five to earn the win.
“(Mitch) allowed his defense to work behind him and located pitches well,” McKinley said. “I like to watch Mitch on the mound. He has confidence and wants the ball. I kept checking in with him and he had a confidence that you can’t teach or coach. He battled for his team and it lead to winning a trophy.”
The game was tied at 3-all in the bottom of the third inning when the Legends broke the tie with a run. A three-run fifth inning opened the game up and McDonald’s/Legacy Ford capped off an undefeated weekend.
Jake Chamberlain went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs to pace the Legends at the plate in Sunday’s finale.
McDonald’s/ Legacy Ford opened the tournament against the Hermiston Heat Friday morning. Led by a five-RBI performance from Eli Wisdom, the Legends battered the Heat for a 12-2 victory.
Both Wisdom and Chamberlain went 3-for-3 while the Legends combined for 12 hits as a team to start the tournament off on the right note.
McDonald’s/Legacy Ford kept the good times rolling Friday afternoon with an 8-3 win over the Sandy Pioneers.
Chamberlain had a game-high three RBIs, and Workinger allowed two runs over four innings to get the win on the mound for the Legends. McDonald’s/Legacy Ford outhit Sandy 13-4.
On Saturday, the Legends overcame a three-run deficit to beat University, a team from Spokane, Wash., 7-3.
Chamberlain and Seth Madsen drove in three runs each, and Tyson Wicklander got the win after 6-2/3 innings of work, five strikeouts and three runs.
“Tyson got to a pitch count that I didn’t want to go past,” McKinley said. “He wanted to keep going, he would have kept going because he is a competitor and I love that about him. But, Kurt Boyd came in and got the game finished up.”
McKinley said he liked the resiliency his team showed against University.
“One thing I was proud of was that we went down early in the game and never really felt like the game wasn’t still in our control,” McKinley said. “We answered quickly with two of our own runs and had a confidence that good teams just naturally carry. It was good to see from our kids.”
On Saturday afternoon the Legends squared off with the Pepsi Diamondjaxx of Pendleton in the semifinals.
McDonald’s/Legacy Ford jumped on the Diamondjaxx for three runs in the first inning and never looked back in a 6-3 win.
Wisdom pitched a complete game to earn the victory.
He struck out two and allowed two hits. Chamberlain and J.C. Rogers both drove in two runs to help the Legends reach the title game.
“J.C. and Jake contributed to this team as a No. 3 and No. 4 hitter better than any coach could ask for,” McKinley said.
“When we needed them, they came through.”
Rogers received the Silver Slugger award for the tournament for his performance at the plate.
“It was pretty darn impressive,” McKinely said.
The Legends are now 8-1 this summer with their only loss coming to the Walla Walla Merchants.
McDonald’s/Legacy Ford will play host to Milton-Freewater Tuesday for a doubleheader at Optimist Field.
First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.