Photo by Ray Rodriguez
The Dalles 13-15-year-old team wrapped up the summer with a 14-0 mercy-ruled win over Wyoming Friday in regional play at David Douglas High School. The team went 2-2 overall, scored 33 runs in four games and the pitching staff gave up nine runs, five earned, in that same span. In the photo are, from left to right, starting in the back row, Deric Anthony (assistant coach), Gabe Petroff, Hunter Padberg, Andy Foster, Cal Homer, Trenton Schacher, Hunter Hough, Wade Fields, Greg Cummings (head coach) and Elliott Whitmire (assistant coach). In the front row are, from left, Isaac Anthony, Keon Kiser, Taylor Beeks, Tucker Hough (bat boy), Conner Cummings and Spencer Guscette. Not Pictured: Ryles Buckley.
PORTLAND – Numbers can be deceiving.
In the case of The Dalles 13- to 15-year-old All-Stars during the Babe Ruth Regional Championships last week in Portland, the team went 2-2 overall, scored 33 runs on 34 hits and the pitching staff gave up nine runs, six earned, on 17 hits in that same span, but the team did not make it through pool play.
“These kids saw some good baseball, played some good baseball and we came up short,” TD head coach Greg Cummings said. “There’s nothing to hang our heads about. It is just that sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way. But, I am hopeful for these kids, because they are going to move on and go up to the next level and into high school and they are going to compete. Any extra baseball these kids can play is so beneficial for their development.”
After Thursday’s no-hit loss at the hands of Idaho, any chance of moving through to bracket play was gone, so Cummings told his players to finish on a strong note against Wyoming last Friday.
TD jumped all over Wyoming for eight runs in the first inning, two in the second and three in the third, getting 17 hits and three walks for a 14-0 mercy-ruled win.
Gabe Petroff went 4 for 4 with two stolen bases, three runs and an RBI, and Wade Fields notched three hits, two doubles, in four at-bats with three RBIs, as the team’s offensive catalysts.
Andy Foster was 2 for 4 with a run and two RBIs, Hunter Padberg chipped in two hits, one triple, a walk, three runs and an RBI, and Keon Kiser went 2 for 4 with three RBIs.
Cal Homer doubled, scored a run and posted an RBI; Hunter Hough walked, scored two runs and drove in another; Spencer Guscette tallied a hit and a run, and Isaac Anthony went 1 for 2 with a double, a walk and a run scored.
Also on the team were Cal Homer, Trenton Schacher, Taylor Beeks, Spencer Guscette, Conner Cummings and Ryles Buckley.
In his start, Foster tossed four scoreless innings of one-hit ball with two walks and five strikeouts to notch the win.
Earlier in the tournament, TD lost 5-2 versus South Oregon in Tuesday’s pool play opener and rebounded Wednesday with a 17-1 rout of East Portland.
Needing a win over Idaho on Thursday, TD could not get a base hit, while Idaho notched three hits and scored three unearned runs for a 3-0 win that eliminated The Dalles from title contention.
Cummings had baseball players from The Dalles, Hood River, Dufur, Sherman County, Fossil and Ione, and getting 13 kids from different areas on the same page is not an easy thing.
What he saw was a squad that competed and gave everything they had to win a state championship and two games in regional action.
“This group just all connected,” said TD’s Isaac Anthony. “We started out separated and then we all came together, played well and became brothers. These guys mean the world to me. I love every single one of them.”
Most of the team played their final game last Friday, with only Anthony, Petroff, Hough and Buckley going to come back for another run in 2019.
This was also most likely the final time coach Cummings would share the field with his son, Conner.
“I don’t know if it is special to him right now, but coaching him has been very special to me,” coach Cummings said. “I have been fortunate to coach Conner in baseball since he was seven years old, and it has been an interesting ride. Not all good, but mostly good. Hopefully, he looks back at these times with fond memories. Coaches’ kids oftentimes get the brunt of all their father’s expectations or coach’s expectations. He has been able to deal with it well over the years and thrive because of it.”
Schacher played a crucial part in the Babe Ruth team’s solid summer, and he did double duty in the American Legion division for the Columbia Gorge Hustlers.
As a crafty left-handed pitcher and hard-hitting first baseman, Schacher was able to come through in several big moments.
He liked how both coaches Cummings and Sugg balanced out practice, game and travel schedules to make sure everything worked out.
“I am very thankful to all my coaches, Greg Cummings, Steve Sugg, Deric Anthony and Dean Dollarhide. They have all been a great help to me,” Schacher said. “I really appreciate them for making the schedules and keeping it where they are not interfering with each other. Playing on two teams and getting the good coaching, I have improved a lot. Plus, my confidence has improved a bunch and everything else has gotten much better. They are all some of my favorite coaches.”
Through the summer, Petroff was the team’s primary catcher, so calling defensive alignments, throwing out base runners and working with a pitching staff, all while under triple-digit temperatures, were important to make everything flow freely.
As one of the younger players on a roster full of veterans, the incoming high school freshman soaked in as much knowledge from his veteran teammates as he could.
“If I could give the younger guys advice, it would be on having a good attitude about things,” Petroff said. “You can’t have a bad attitude in baseball. You have to be positive and good things will happen after that. If you can at least have the right mindset when you come to the field, everything else can be pretty good for you as a player.”