With a revamped roster to start 2015, The Dalles Concrete found a way to win its fifth consecutive title.
The Sandbaggers pounded 18 hits and broke open an 11-all tie with a nine-run fifth inning to surge past Nelson Tires 21-14 in the championship game of the North Wasco County Parks and Recreation Adult Softball League Wednesday night at Kramer Field.
During their five-year reign, the Sandbaggers have amassed a 110-8 record, finishing the 2015 campaign with a 19-2 record.
“Just to complete five years in a row is special,” said Devin Crye, who had two hits and four RBIs. “This year was a bit in question because there were a lot of good teams. We didn’t know if we were going to make it this far. We lost two games after losing one in the last couple of years, so it took getting all of the players here together and we were able to put it all together to win.”
In all, there were three ties and five lead changes in the seven innings of play, but TD Concrete landed the knockout blow in the bottom of the fifth inning with nine runs on five hits, four walks and an error.
Tavita Seufalemua, Rick Cyphers and Samantha Tenneson had three straight RBI hits, and then Devin Crye roped a two-run double to right field to score Cyphers and Tenneson to move the Sandbaggers to an 18-11 lead.
Jacob Stocks drove in Crye and Jessica Struck with a two-out, two-run double to right field to give the Sandbaggers a 20-11 lead.
After a scoreless first inning, TD Concrete skipper Chuck Ashley credited his team for making the adjustments on Nelson Tire pitcher Rocky Linebarger.
“The biggest difference is we stopped hitting the ball in the air and we started hitting line drives,” Ashley said. “When our girls get on, the guys get them in. Then we always have our breakout inning. It has been that way all year. We get behind and then we have our blowout inning where we score seven or eight runs. We did that tonight and that made the difference.”
Seufalemua swelled TD Concrete’s lead to 21-11 on a run-scoring double in the bottom of the sixth to cap the scoring.
In the top of the seventh inning, Nelson Tires staged a three-run rally and had a runner in scoring position with two outs, but Seufalemua retired the final batter on a flyout to center field.
Nelson Tires jumped out to a 4-0 lead through one and a half innings, as a solo home run from Chaise Shroll spearheaded a three-run burst.
Down 6-4 in the third inning, Nelson Tires used a two-run double by Ryan Johnson to regain the lead at 7-6.
Up by a 9-7 margin entering the bottom of the fourth, Crye drove in Angie Cox and Cyphers with a two-run double to put the Sandbaggers ahead by an 11-7 tally.
Nelson Tires evened the score at 11-apiece in the top of the fifth inning with four runs on four hits and a walk.
Shroll led off with a single and Rebecca Tobias doubled to put runners in scoring position. Linebarger had an RBI walk to plate Shroll, and two outs later, Brianne Stephens drove in Tobias with a run-scoring single to left.
Mitch Jenkins drove in Linebarger and Stephens with a two-run triple to left field to tie the score at 11-11.
“That’s a good team. They never gave up,” Ashley said. “We needed every run because we knew they had the bats to get back in the game.”
Stocks went 4 for 4 with three RBIs and three runs scored, and Adam McFall added two hits, drove in two and scored three runs.
Seufalemua went 3 for 4 with two RBIs, Sara Anthony went 1 for 1 with two walks and two runs, and Tenneson went 1 for 2 with two walks, an RBI and a run scored.
“When someone gets a hit in front of you, you want to hit them in, it gets contagious like that,” Crye said. “We put some hits together and had those two big innings and that gave us a big enough lead to win.”
Nelson Tires (15-6), who beat Zim’s 16-15 in a Wednesday semifinal contest, was led by Jenkins, who went 5 for 5 with four RBIs, three runs scored.
Shroll added four hits, an RBI and two runs scored and Johnson was 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs.
Kella DeHart added two hits, an RBI and a run scored, and Stephens went 2 for 4 and scored twice.
The Dalles Concrete started the year with some uncertainty given some roster changes.
Ace pitcher Jeff Miller retired at the end of last season, and the team added McFall and two girls.
Ashley said it took some time to get everyone on the same page, but down the stretch, the Sandbaggers defeated Amerities 12-1, Zim’s Brau Haus 12-9 and Nelson Tires in three straight playoff games.
“When you have Devin (Crye), Jacob Stocks and Shane Elliott, Rick Cyphers, I mean all the girls have to do is get on base for those guys because we are going to score,” Ashley said.
Anthony has been a part of this five-year dominant run for three seasons and she says it is a tight-knit group that loves softball.
As the years go on, however, the bulls-eye on the Sandbaggers’ backs gets bigger and bigger.
“We need to keep doing what we have been doing the past few years,” Anthony said. “Hopefully, we can get more teams in the league next year, so we can get more competition, camaraderie and get the community behind this. If we can have this much fun, then others can as well.”