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Union County’s Chance Fredrick turns a double play against Mound Time Wednesday in Baker City. (Casey Kellas/The Observer)
BAKER CITY — The Union County 13-year-old Babe Ruth all-star team had its run at the North Oregon State Tournament come to an end Wednesday in Baker City.
Union County lost to Tualatin Hills Mavericks, 7-5, before falling to Tualatin Hills Mound Time, 17-3.
“I’m real proud of the kids,” coach Lee Atkinson said. “We came to the state tournament with 10 (players) in 90-degree temperatures. It’s a tough deal. We had some sore arms this morning, so we had to be real careful with our pitching rotation.”
The two losses, along with the losses on Tuesday, prevented Union County from making it to the semifinals Thursday.
Against Mound Time in Wednesday’s nightcap, Union County fell into a two-run hole in the first inning on two passed balls from pitcher Caleb Lathrop.
The teams traded zeroes for the next four innings, with Union County unable to muster a hit.
With Lathrop fatiguing under the hot sun, Mound Time struck for nine runs in the sixth inning to increase its lead to 11-0.
“My arm got a little tired,” Lathrop said.
The UC offense finally broke through for three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to stay alive. Wade Rynearson scored on an error for the first run, before Bryant Gerdes and Lathrop both scored on wild pitches.
But Mound Time added six more runs in the top of the seventh inning and Union County couldn’t get anything going.
“Our mental errors messed us up,” Lathrop said.
Gerdes, Lathrop and Rynearson had the only hits for UC.
“With Mound Time, that’s a team that plays year round,” Atkinson said. “They’re an academy team. That’s all those kids do. And they don’t make mistakes.”
In the first game of the day against the Mavericks, Union County trailed 7-0 and wasn’t able to muster a base hit before staging a seventh-inning rally. Jayce Leonard, Chance Frederick, Deric Mussato, Cody Dubray and Rynearson all came home to score in the inning.
Union County had the tying run on base, but failed to score.
“I look forward to seeing these kids grow and mature,” Atkinson said. “I gave them a goal to focus on little things to fix between now and next year. We’ll see how they do.”