The Dalles 14U All Stars picked up two more wins and secured one of the top-2 seeds heading into Saturday’s bracket round in Babe Ruth state tournament baseball play Friday at David Douglas High School in Portland.
One day after racking up 50 runs on 54 hits, The Dalles came through with the mettle necessary to grab a pair of closer contests against West Linn and rival, Pendleton.
In Friday’s nightcap, Jacob Justesen drove in courtesy runner Chad Hester with a seventh-inning walk-off infield single to shortstop to give The Dalles a 3-2 victory.
This contest was a seesaw battle for the duration, with The Dalles taking a 2-1 lead until a single run by Pendleton in the top of the seventh.
“This was the best game I have been part of in years,” said The Dalles head coach Jeff Justesen. “Pendleton made several outstanding defensive plays. We made several outstanding defensive plays. They got solid innings from their pitchers, we got solid innings from our pitchers. We had several balls that we hit a long way that were caught in the deepest part of the park.”
Part of the back-and-forth play on the diamond included several standout defensive plays.
In the first frame, TD catcher Bradley Moe gunned down a runner trying to advance from first base to third on a wild pitch.
After retrieving the loose ball from a deep backstop, Moe settled in and fired a bullet to William Justesen at third base to record the out.
Later, Moe cut short a potential steal attempt following a leadoff walk early in the game.
In addition, TD left fielder Tylan Webster saved a potential run by making a diving catch of a deep shot to end the top of the fifth.
One inning later, Pendleton was down 2-1 and looked to be starting another rally after a leadoff single. The next batter then hit a laser, but The Dalles second baseman Bailey Keever jumped high into the heavens to snag the line drive and settled in to make a pinpoint throw to first base for the double play.
TD jumped on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first frame with two outs. Brody Woods rifled a triple to deep centerfield, then left-handed slugger Kolbe Bales chased home Woods with an RBI single to make it, 1-0.
In the second frame, The Dalles staged another two-out rally using a walk to Jose Gonzalez, followed by an RBI double to left centerfield by Jacob Justesen to run the count to 2-0.
Pendleton scored one in third inning off Bales, the TD starter, on a hit batter, two groundouts and a two-out single.
Still down by one run in the top of the seventh, Pendleton deadlocked matters on a single, a wild pitch and another single.
It came down to the seventh frame for The Dalles to push across the game-winner.
Trey Homer slugged a one-out double to right to make things interesting. Coach Justesen then inserted Hester as a pinch runner.
Hester motored to third base on a wild pitch.
One out later, Jacob Justesen then wasted little time in the batter’s box and deposited his RBI infield single and beat the throw to first base. Hester rumbled home for the winning run to give The Dalles a 3-2 win and a move into the bracket round.
Bales allowed one run over three innings pitched with three strikeouts in his no-decision.
Woods ended up earning the win in relief, as he tossed four innings and gave up one run.
Earlier in the day, game action was less tense, as The Dalles cruised to an 11-0 mercy-ruled victory.
TD broke the seal on play with two runs in the first inning on an RBI groundout by Bales to bring in Webster, and Moe then deposited a single to score Woods to make it a 2-0 game.
Up by two runs in the third stanza, The Dalles used hits by Jacob Justesen, Webster, Bales, Moe, Connor Uhalde, Bailey Keever and William Justesen to plate five runs to make it a 7-0 tally.
Finally in the fourth inning, TD put the mercy rule into effect with a four-run barrage on hits by Woods and Uhalde, along with walks by Webster, William Justesen and Gonzalez.
This offensive explosion was more than enough for Homer, who tossed four shutout innings with three strikeouts.
Jacob Justesen capped the stellar pitching day with a scoreless fifth inning.
Coming off Thursday’s stout effort, coach Justesen did not like the urgency his team came out to play with.
“We started a little more slowly than I would have liked,” he said. “But, Trey fought through a tight strike zone and we played solid defense.”
The Dalles hit the field early Saturday most likely against Pendleton or Salem/Keizer depending on seeding.
“Either way, we will be ready to play,” the TD coach said.