UNION CO. BABE RUTH ALL-STARS OFF TO BIG START
The Union County 13-year-old Babe Ruth All-Star boys got off to an inauspicious start in their District 3 Tournament opener Friday, but they more than made up for their slow beginning.
The boys fell behind 3-0 in the first inning to Baker City at Optimist Field.
They were still down 3-0 entering the third, but a huge inning completely changed the complexion of the game. Union County erupted with hit after hit and scored nine runs in the third. They followed up with another seven runs in the fourth en route to a 19-4 win.
"I think the kids showed a lot of poise after getting down early. They just kept hitting the ball. They hit really well," said coach Rich Carmichael.
Anthony Nice had a huge game. He hit a bases-loaded triple for three RBIs, and a two-run home run. He also had a single and stole two bases to start Union County's big third-inning rally.
During Union County's two huge innings, the boys had 10 hits. Jacob Johnston, Taylor Workinger and G.D. Clark all had two-run hits.
Pitcher Cody McKague had a big game, going the distance for the win.
McKague struggled a bit in the first inning, allowing three of the first four batters he faced to get on base.
McKague struck out two batters, and on a 3-2 count to Baker City's Kenny Keister, he gave up a bases-clearing double. McKague fanned the next batter to strike out the side, but that one swing of Keister's bat had Union County in a hole.
Carmichael thought McKague pitched a great game. He said it appeared he was throwing the ball in the middle of the plate early, but after settling in for the second inning, he located the ball better the rest of the way. Baker City never mounted any serious rallies the rest of the game.
Carmichael said there are some good teams at the tournament, but that if the Union County boys can continue to hit well, he thinks they can take the title.
In other games at the 13-year-old tournament, Harney County beat Wallowa Valley 17-1 and Snake River Valley beat Grant County 12-1.
Union County will next play Wallowa Valley at 7 p.m. today. Baker City and Grant County will play at noon today, while Snake River Valley and Harney County will play at 3:30 p.m.