Down the stretch, The Columbia Gorge “AAA” Hustlers have been maintaining a constant flow to their game as the postseason inched closer and closer.
The team lost a doubleheader on July 14 to the Northwest Star Knights, but showed an ability to score bunches and come back from early deficits.
In addition, Nolan McCall hit a walk-off, two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning, as the Columbia Gorge “AAA” Hustlers came back from a 7-6 deficit to defeat Champion Baseball 8-7 in a nine-inning American Legion baseball contest on July 18.
And so since this last triumph, they are coming into the American Legion Super Regionals with some momentum.
“This group of guys has shown they can step up when it matters most,” said Hustler pitcher and Blue Mountain Community College incoming freshman Austin Wilson. “So far, I think we have just started to play up to our level. Now that we are in the super regionals, we need to come out play like our season is on the line.”
Starting Friday and ending Sunday in a three-day tournament at Dallas High School, the Hustlers are in action for the Super Regional Tournament with their first game at 5 p.m. Friday versus Wilson Alpenrose.
If they win, the Hustlers play the DeMarini Dirtbags at noon Saturday, but a loss to Wilson Alpenrose pits the high-flying Hustlers to a contest at 3 p.m.
Sunday is slated for championship action with games scheduled for 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. if necessary.
All-State baseball player and recent The Dalles Wahtonka graduate, Steven Bartells, is of the opinion that if every spoke on the wheel contributes in an efficient manner, than the team will be ahead of the pace.
“Baseball is about capitalizing on key chances, hitting, pitching and defense,” Bartells said. “That is what it is all about. We got a week of big games, if we keep winning.”
When the final out is recorded at Super Regionals in Dallas, the hope is that Columbia Gorge could dig in deeper to another level for the State Tournament in Grants Pass from July 30-August 3. In addition to Wilson, McCall and Bartells, the Hustlers have Dakota and Colton Walker, Clay Copper, Clayton Ringer, Zachary Keimig, Payton Eaton, Colin Noonan, Connor Olsen and a few others who have shown high power potential through the summer baseball season.
“It is just keeping our focus,” Copper said in an earlier interview. “We have to keep our heads up and keep working hard. We need to have the confidence to go out on the field and win.”