UNION CO. BABE RUTH 13-YEAR-OLDS WIN TITLE

July 09, 2003 12:00 am
PLAY AT THE PLATE: Union County catcher Travis Ludwig hangs tough to punch out an SRV base      runner at the plate during Union County's 9-2 win over Snake River Valley Tuesday. (The Observer/RAENELLE KWOCK).
PLAY AT THE PLATE: Union County catcher Travis Ludwig hangs tough to punch out an SRV base runner at the plate during Union County's 9-2 win over Snake River Valley Tuesday. (The Observer/RAENELLE KWOCK).

By Raenelle Kwock

Observer Staff Writer

The feeling is the same for most of the Union County 13-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars.

"It feels good," Union County's Cody McKague said. "Two years in a row."

The Union County All-Stars won the district championship at the Majors tournament last year as members of the La Grande Little League team.

They were crowned the North Oregon 2003 District 3 Tournament champion in the 13-year-old bracket Tuesday night after their 9-2 win over Snake River Valley at Optimist Field.

McKague had a key triple to ignite Union County in what had been a close ball game.

"I just saw the ball coming straight down the middle of the plate," McKague recalled. "Boom ... That's it."

His lead-off triple in the top of the sixth was a towering hit deep to left center field. After McKague slid into third base, the rally continued for the Union County boys as they scored four more runs off four hits to push the score to 6-2.

Union County's Anthony Nice came on in the bottom of the fourth to relieve McKague.

Nice agreed that McKague's hit was the turning point.

"It feels really good," he said about winning the district championship.

Union County's Taylor McIntosh's hit drove in McKague to tie the game at 2-2. After Jacob Johnston walked, SRV pitcher Garrett Brown took the mound for Bryson Sap.

Johnston advanced to second base, then G.D. Clark smacked a sharp hit inside the third base line to advance Johnston.

After Josh Homan and Josh Nordstrom came up to bat, Union County led 4-2.

Nordstrom advanced to second, then Nice hit a high pop up. The SRV first base man and catcher Jake Davidson collided trying to catch the ball. No one caught it.

Nice then drove a hit deep to center field. The center fielder caught the ball and made a perfect throw to Davidson, but he bobbled it and Union County scored. It led 5-2 at that point.

SRV scored one run in the first inning and another in the fifth.

Manager Darwin Roberts said the key factor during the tournament was that the team had played together last year on the Majors team.

Roberts said a couple of kids were added to that Majors team like Elgin's G.D. Clark and Travis Ludwig.

"It's a good, sound group of kids," Roberts said.

He said he was very proud of them.

The Union County team will head to the state tournament in Hood River July 15, beginning play the next day.

Roberts said the team must remain focused and step it up a couple of notches to have a pretty good chance at state.

Nice was 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Richie Carmichael was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.

McKague was 2-for-4 with one RBI and a triple. Clark was 2-for-4 with a double.