The Dalles 11U All Stars take the field in Prineville for the District 5 playoffs. The players and coaches are, pictured from left to right, starting in back row, Isaac Marble, Manatu Crichton-Tunai, Mason Caldwell, Associate Coach Sean Herriges, Peyton Beeks, Elijah Thomas, Coach Mike Wilbur, Hayden Taylor and Jack Morgan. In the front row are, from left, Cesar Sanchez, Tristan Ku Ku, Diego Gonzalez-Rodriguez and Andy Maney. The team starts action at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Ray Rodriguez photo
As of Wednesday, June 22, 2016
The Dalles 11U All Stars are the wild card team of the District 5 Little League tournament.
While they are going into playoff action with the intent on winning, head coach Mike Wilbur wants his athletes to enjoy the responsibility of being examples of the community.
“That’s what it is all about. These kids are our ambassadors,” Wilbur said. “You’ve got to be there for your town and you have to represent your town in an all-out manner, on and off the field. They should be happy to be all-stars, that is an achievement, but it doesn’t stop there. You want to make something out of that experience. You want to win, you want to compete, you want to do all of that and you want to have fun at the same time.”
When looking at the roster, the Stars have speed in Cesar Sanchez, Andy Maney and Isaac Marble, and also have a potent middle of the order with big hitters Mason Caldwell, Hayden Taylor, Jack Morgan and Peyton Beeks with the potential to hit home runs or stroke some extra base hits in the gaps.
Ian Preston, Manatu Crichton-Tunai, Ian Preston, Tristan Ku Ku and Diego Gonzalez-Rodriguez have versatile games to add to the scoring, defense and pitching.
Marble looks no further than the batting order, as the key to success.
“We can be really dangerous because we have guys that can hit the ball to the outfield, can hit it hard and we can run the bases good,” Marble said. “I know we can score a lot of runs.”
The Dalles is joined in the brackets by Bend South, Crook County, Hood River Valley, Redmond and Bend North.
Bend North ended TD’s season in 2015 with an 8-3 win.
Beeks is hoping to get some revenge on a team that has been a thorn in his side.
“We lost to them for the last couple of years. I really want to go out and beat them,” Beeks said. “If we want to beat them, we need to be focused. We can’t let them get in our heads. That’s what they do, they get in our heads. And that is kind of how they beat us. We have to be mentally strong and positive if we want to beat them.”
The Dalles hits All State Field for its first bracket game at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 26 in Prineville.
If they win Sunday, they head to the quarterfinals on June 28, and if they lose, they play on Monday, June 27 at 3:30 p.m.
Taylor believes his team is a definite wild card in this six-team field.
“We are going in there ready to have fun. Whatever happens happens. We are all here for the love of the game,” Taylor said. “There is no pressure on us. We want to go out and have fun. It is all about the love of the game and this game teaching us about the future.”