Contributed photo/Mark Coburn
The Dalles Little League 10U All Stars head coach Michael Cates, on left, offers some words of encouragement for his team, from left to right, Nolan Cates, Cody Agidius, Finley Corbin, Avery Schwartz, Sterling Coburn, Jonah Ofisa and Joshua Brackenbury in the middle of their District 5 semifinal baseball game against Redmond Wednesday. The Stars pounded out 15 hits, one double, received 12 walks and jumped out to an 8-1 lead through three innings of play enroute to a lopsided 16-8 victory to move into the championship round. With the win, TD, now 3-0 in tournament play, takes on either Redmond or Bend North in the double elimination title round beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday.
As the brackets came out before the start of the District 5 Little League championships, The Dalles 10U All Stars were the darkhorses in a formidable field.
Using that mindset as a source of motivation, the Stars moved their record to 3-0 in tournament action, following a 16-8 victory over Redmond Wednesday at the Umatilla Sports Complex in Redmond.
“We are very proud of how this team has come together,” said head coach Michael Cates. “They have practiced hard and came together as a team.”
In Wednesday’s matchup, The Dalles jumped all over Redmond pitching with six runs on four singles, a walk, a hit batter and two errors.
Avery Schwartz, William Booth, Jonah Ofisa and Trey Hodges each had singles, as the first five TD batters reached safely and scored. Derek Goulart walked and scored a run to cap the six-run outburst.
TD added two more runs in the second inning with Booth reaching after being hit by a pitch and Cody Agidius singled to start the rally.
Joshua Brackenbury and Ofisa then added RBI hits, scoring Booth and Agidius, running TD’s lead to 8-0.
In the fourth inning, The Dalles tacked on six walks and a single, with Agidius, Coburn, Goulart and Ofisa crossing home for a 12-1 TD cushion.
Redmond inched to within a 12-5 margin after scoring four runs in the fourth, but TD responded with four runs of its own in the top of the fifth.
Nolan Cates and Coburn drove in a run apiece and Hodges swatted a double to swell TD’s advantage to 16-5.
Redmond scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth, but in the sixth, Schwartz retired the side on 12 pitches, the final two outs coming on strikeouts.
Coburn allowed one run on no hits with five strikeouts and one walk in his 2 2/3 innings for the win.
Agidius, Booth and Schwartz finished the last 3 1/3 innings in relief and struck out nine batters, walked seven, hit two batters and allowed seven runs, three earned, on two hits.
Schwartz was 2 for 4 with two walks, two runs and two RBIs, Ofisa chipped in a hit, a walk, a run and two RBIs, and Agidius added two hits, a walk, three runs and two RBIs.
Hodges was 3 for 3 with a double, a run scored and four RBIs, as TD pounded out 15 hits, received 12 walks, and had four players hit by pitches.
Booth went 1 for 3 with a hit by pitch, two runs and two RBIs, Coburn had a hit, was hit by a pitch, walked and scored two runs, Goulart reached on three walks and scored three times, and Nolan Cates was 2 for 4 with a walk, a run scored and two RBIs.
While The Dalles rides into Friday’s final with a perfect record, it has not come without adversity.
The team had one of its losses turn into a win after a Bend North forfeit, and a key player went down due to an injury.
“Even with a player down, they worked harder to win a game for him,” coach Cates said. “He made it back from the doctor halfway through our last game yesterday to give us moral support. He will be back for the championship game.”
Agidius, Booth and Coburn all totaled 35 or fewer pitches in the game and are available to pitch in Friday’s title contest, so coach Cates will have all hands on deck for one of the biggest games in these kids’ career.
If TD loses on Friday, a double elimination game is set for 10 a.m. on Saturday.
“The kids are very excited to play in the championship, and win or lose, they are still winners in our eyes,” coach Cates said.