Three teams. Three dreams. One goal.
The Dalles Little League announced its 12U, 11U and 10U All-Star teams for the start of District 5 baseball action on June 24 in Prineville.
Deric Anthony leads the 13-player 12U team as head coach, Mike Wilbur is on board for 11U squad in his first year and Ken Brock has 13 of the top 10U players ready to roll for a chance at district, state and beyond.
12U vets boast experience
As the oldest group of the bunch, the 12U baseball team has an even blend of speed, pitching, defense and hitting that could pose a threat to the opposition.
Andru Weaver, Elijah Roden, William Hoover and Shane Floyd are names to keep an eye on, and Austin Agidius, Gavin Cates, Drew Evans and Nathan Hedges are solid contributors in every facet of the game.
Rounding out the 12U roster are Keon Kiser, Keegan Losee, Gabe Petroff, Jaxon Pullen and Isaac Anthony.
Anthony sees potential wherever he looks.
“I think our biggest strengths are fielding, because those other boys that we are going to play against are going to be really good hitting teams,” Anthony said.
Added to that, this group is looking to rebound after last season, where they lost two games to Hood River and Bend North by a combined 36-4 margin.
All it will take is executing on the fundamentals and using communication and teamwork to get this group to a higher level.
Isaac Anthony believes they have as good of a shot as anyone to move on to state.
“I am really excited for this year,” Anthony said. “We have a great group of boys.”
11U group offers promise, hope
First-year coach Mike Wilbur brings a youthful enthusiasm to the dugout for the 11U All Stars.
With just a few practices conducted thus far, Wilbur, a former state champion baseball player at TD, said he envisions a group doing well in district play.
Ian Preston feels the same way.
“I am confident we will play our hardest and represent The Dalles well,” Preston said.
On the 11U roster, Peyton Beeks, Mason Caldwell, Tristan Ku Ku, Andy Maney and Diego Gonzalez-Rodriguez have had previous success at the district level.
Isaac Marble, Jack Morgan, Cesar Sanchez, Hayden Taylor, Elijah Thomas, Ian Preston and Manatu Crichton-Tunai bring some power and all-around ability to a team that went 2-2 last season in district play.
TD had wins over South Central (11-1) and Crook County (13-5), but lost 7-6 to Bend South and had its tournament run end in an 8-3 loss to Bend North.
The 2015 outcome presented some learning lessons for this group of all-stars that will help them this year.
“I am very excited to play the best there is because of the experience we will have,” said Crichton-Tunai. “We will be able to learn and get better.”
By the time late June rolls around, the Stars will have double-digit practices to work out the details of philosophy and expectations of Coach Wilbur.
At first glance, Ian Preston says the strength of this group is hitting.
They have been working very hard during the regular season and in workouts to get the offense playing at a top level.
Preston also pointed out that the weakness are that they are just now coming together as a team, so there is still a lot of team building to do.
“How far we can go all depends on our teamwork and coming together to play our best,” Crichton-Tunai said.
New coach, 9 newbies for 10U
Ken Brock is on the bench as the new coach of The Dalles Little League’s 10U All Star team that returns Riley Brock, Styles DeLeon, Nolan Donivan and Braden Schwartz.
Also on the roster are William Booth, Elijah Cardona, Nolan Cates, Cooper Cummings, Cooper Klindt, Krae Mathisen, Avery Schwartz, Sam Shaver and Braden VanSickle.
“I think our pitching and hitting are our biggest strengths,” VanSickle said. “We have some guys that can really hit the ball and our pitchers throw a lot of strikes.”
In his first season as an all-star, VanSickle thinks this group has a very good chance at earning a state berth.
“I'm very excited to get this chance to play on the big stage with some great teammates,” VanSickle said.
Cummings, whose older brother Conner played on an all-star team in 2013, said he worked hard to make the team, so he is excited about the opportunity presented to him.
With a balanced roster of clutch hitters, base stealers and good pitchers, this could be a group playing deep into the summer months.
“If we play our best, we can win at least districts, that's my goal at least,” Cooper Cummings said. “We just have to play as a team and try hard.”