UNION WINS DISTRICT: Babe Ruth 15-year-olds win District 3 crown, head to state
The Union County 15-year-old Babe Ruth all-star team stood out from the pack all weekend long at the District 3 tournament in La Grande.
The team went 5-0, including a 5-4 victory over Snake River Valley to claim the district title on Sunday.
“It’s just awesome. The kids came to play this weekend,” coach Allen Childs said. “I’m really proud of them.”
After outscoring their first four opponents 53-2, Union County found themselves in a tight ballgame with everything on the line on Sunday.
In the early innings it looked like Union County was going to run away with another victory.
After Eli Childs roped a one-out single in the top of the first inning, he eventually came home to score on a wild pitch by Christian Rodriguez to put to get Union County on the board.
Then in the second inning, Daniel Cribbs and Joe Griffin both came home on an error at second base on a dribbler by Childs.
Later in the inning Kurt Boyd drew a bases loaded walk to bring home a run and stretch the lead to 4-0.
Union County added to the lead with a run in the fourth inning.
J.C. Rogers reached base on an error and eventually came home on an RBI groundout by Eli Wisdom, and the local team looked in complete control.
“We’ve really focused on hitting lately. We’ve spent a lot of time in the cage,” Coach Childs said of his team’s prolific offense.
But right when things looked golden, Snake River Valley was able to build some momentum of its own.
Colton Friend led the bottom of the fourth inning off with a single, followed by a double by Rodriguez to get a couple of runner in scoring position.
That led to a two-run single by Josh Schoorl to get SRV on the board and cut the lead to 5-2.
An inning later Snake River tallied another run on a infield RBI single by Friend to make it 5-3.
Rodriguez, meanwhile, was able to cool the Union County bats and keep the hot-hitting team at bay to allow SRV to stay close.
Snake River got the lead to one with a run in the bottom of the seventh when Emmanuel Navarrete scored on a wild pitch by Tanner Stremcha, who replaced Childs in the sixth inning.
But Navarrete was caught stealing and was thrown out at second base by catcher J.C. Rogers to end the game and give UC the district title.
“Everyone played really good defense. We had very few errors. And we got that big play by J.C. at the end there,” Coach Childs said.
Eli Childs got the win on the mound, going 6 1/3 and striking out six batters.
As a team, UC finished with six hits, while SRV had seven.
Rogers, Childs, Wisdom, Boyd, Troy Williams and Daniel Cribbs all had one hit each.
With the championship, the team will enter the state tournament in Baker City as the No. 1 seed.
“We’ve been setting goals. Our first goal was to win a district title. If we go (to state) and play solid ball, I think we’ll be fine,” Coach Childs said of what he expects at the state tournament.
Union 11, Baker Americans 0
Union County dominated it’s first four opponents of the tournament, starting with the Baker Americans on Friday.
UC jumped on the board with three runs in the first.
Robers scored on a wild pitch before Boyd and Wisdom came through with RBIs.
Three more in the second, four in the thid and one in the fourth ended the game after five innings.
Stremcha got the win, going 1 1/3 and striking out two.
Union 16, Snake River 1
UC continued its stellar play with a five-inning rout of Snake River Valley.
A sacrifice fly by Childs got Union County on the board in the first inning, before Wisdom came through with an RBI single.
He eventually came home to score on an error to stretch the lead to 3-0.
UC followed that with four runs in the fourth, seven in the third and two in the fourth.
As a team, UC finished with 11 hits, while SRV had one hit to go along with four errors.
Joe Griffin was two for three, while Wisdom was one for three with two RBIs.
Chase Huffman pitched five innings and struck out five to get the win.
Union 6, Baker Nationals 1
Union County trailed for the first time of the tournament against the Nationals.
Baker got on the board in the second inning, before UC tied it in the bottom of the third with on an RBI single by Childs.
Stremcha put UC on top in the fourth inning when he scored on an error. Union went on to add three more in the fifth and one in the sixth to round out the scoring.
Childs was two for three with an RBI, while J.C. Rogers was one for four with a run batted in.
Griffin struck out three to get the win on the hill.
Union 20, Americans 0
Union had its most dominant contest of the tournament in a rematch with the Baker Americans.
UC came out and put up 12 runs in the first inning, then added two in the third and six in the fourth to get the runaway victory.
Rogers had two hits and scored four runs, while Huffman crossed home plate three times.