In the first ever Babe Ruth Softball Pacific Northwest Regional Tournament in The Dalles, four area teams were in the spotlight while playing in front of their hometown fans. The Dalles Softball League All-Star squads in age groups 14U, 12U and 10U competed in the nine-team event July 6-8 at Sorosis Park.
The Dalles 10U National All-Star squad had a perfect performance, going undefeated (5-0) to win the regional championship Monday.
The Dalles 12U All-Stars (4-2) took second place in the tournament and reached Monday’s title contest, but came up short following a 10-6 loss to the regional champion, Ellensburg, Wash. (4-1).
The Dalles 14U All-Stars (3-3), guided by manager Meghan Rowland and assistant coach Sherri Ginnett, also had an outstanding effort getting second place and advancing to Monday's title matchup, but fell short in a 14-8 loss to the regional champion Kuna, Idaho All-Stars (4-1).
The Dalles 10U National All-Stars won five games by a combined total margin of 75-22, and defeated Ellensburg in the championship game, 14-5, to clinch the title.
Siyra Faulkner (2-for-3, two RBIs), Morgan Donivan (4-for-4, five RBIs), Caitlynn Gatton (1-for-2, single, two runs scored) and AizLynn Rubio (2-for-2, two RBIs) helped lead TD’s offensive attack.
“Siyra pitched a terrific game,” Donivan said. “She commanded the circle and did a really good job on spotting up her locations on both sides of the plate. Siyra and catcher Hailey Johnston worked really well together all tournament long. Hailey received the ball well and protected the plate.”
Guided by manager Wesley Faulkner and assistant coach Ben Donivan, TD started out with an impressive 17-0 victory over Ellensburg (2-3) in its Saturday opener, then cruised to a 21-4 win over The Dalles American All-Stars (0-5).
In second-day action, The Dalles again recorded two more lopsided victories over Ellensburg (14-7) and The Dalles American All-Stars (23-6).
“The way the girls were well focused in every at-bat was just amazing,” Faulkner said. “They put in the time during the season and they came up to the park every night for three and a half months to participate in batting practice. They’re a very dedicated group of kids and they don’t give any at-bats away. They’re just an easy group of kids to coach. They know what they’re doing, they know how to run the bases and they know how to bat well.”
The Dalles National 10U team was undecided about whether they will go to the World Series in Florida July 25-Aug. 3, but everyone involved with the team is still hoping to make the trip if they can raise enough funds.
“This championship is what we set out to do at the beginning of the tournament. We achieved our goal and I’m very proud of the girls,” coach Faulkner said. “It was an awesome experience and we’ll keep setting more goals for them as they grow older and we’ll see what they can do. It would be a great experience to go to Florida, but the only way we’ll be able to do that is to do lots of fundraising.”
To help the young team achieve its fundraising goals, parties can log on to www.gofundme.com/f/the-dalles-10u-babe-ruth-fastpitch-champs
The Dalles 12U All-Stars had a promising start in the tournament, with a 7-4 win over Kuna, ID. (0-5), followed by an 8-7 win over Ellensburg (4-1) on July 6.
Against Kuna, TD’s Despina Seufalemua earned the Player-of-the-Game Award and pitcher Maddie Brock struck out five and walked four.
In its second matchup, The Dalles built leads of 3-0, 5-3 and 7-4, until Ellensburg fought back and knotted it 7-7 with a three-run fifth frame.
TD responded in the bottom of the sixth, as Sydney Newby popped a leadoff triple, and two batters later, Seufalemua hit a game-winning, walk-off RBI single, scoring Newby to give The Dalles an 8-7 triumph.
TD captured its third straight win, 13-6, over Kuna on Sunday, but the streak was snapped later that day in a 12-4 loss versus Ellensburg.
In Monday’s semifinal against Kuna, The Dalles broke open a 1-1 tie with a four-run third inning.
Newby (3-for-3) stroked a leadoff triple, and she scored when Brock hit an RBI double. Isabelle Shaw added a two-run single and Lillian Marx capped the outburst with an RBI single to make it 5-2.
“After Sydney hit the triple, I knew that we would be able to score some runs and get the lead,” Shaw said.
Following two scoreless innings, Kuna came back and loaded the bases in the top of the sixth, but The Dalles defense shut down Kuna’s comeback effort, led by a solid relief effort from Seufalemua, who struck out the final batter of the game to help preserve the victory. Brock, the starting pitcher, earned the Player-of-the-Game Award.
“I felt really happy because we had the big rally in the third inning with everybody getting some good hits to help us score some runs,” Newby said.
In the title contest, The Dalles took the initial edge on an inside-the-park home run from Brock, and Shaw added an RBI double to make it 2-0.
At that point, it seemed like a very real possibility that The Dalles could win and reach the Babe Ruth Softball World Series in Florida.
Ellensburg knotted it at 2-2, until Brock’s RBI double lifted The Dalles to a 4-2 advantage in the third inning.
In the bottom of the third, however, Ellensburg responded with eight unanswered runs to build a 10-4 lead.
The Dalles had one final chance in the sixth and plated two runs, but came up short in the season-ending 10-6 loss.
Seufalemua (three strikeouts) received the Player-of-the-Game Award and Hannah Krogstadt earned the Player-of-the-Game Award for Ellensburg, which moves on to the World Series in Florida.
“To get to the championship game and then come up short is obviously very disappointing,” TD manager Adam Shaw said. “They earned it (the championship game), they fought through every pitch and I couldn’t be prouder of our team. I’m super proud of all the girls for going above and beyond what we asked them to do. This experience will actually make them a better team in the long run.”
Shaw feels that this group is just scratching the surface on what they can accomplish.
“We have a good group of girls that are going to be together for a long time and they'll have a bright future ahead of them in softball,” coach Shaw said. “They don’t realize right now that their best years of softball are in the near future. This is just the start of something that will continue to be a success for them and I'm sure that they'll keep it going.”
The 14U squad started the tournament by splitting a doubleheader July 6, a 14-4 loss to Kuna, ID., followed by a 9-6 win against Upper Rogue.
In its opening contest against the Kuna, Kaylee Flemming (2-for-3, 3 RBI) hit an RBI double driving home Sadie McCoy, who drew a leadoff walk, giving The Dalles a 1-0 advantage.
Kuna scored two runs in the bottom half of the first inning to go up 2-1 and never trailed again. The Idaho State Champions scored three runs in the second to go ahead 5-1 and added a run in the third for a 6-1 lead.
The Dalles fought back, scoring a run in the fourth, trimming it to 6-2 and continued their comeback in the fifth, highlighted by Flemming’s two-run single, trimming the margin to 6-4.
Kuna then invoked the mercy rule with eight runs to take a 14-4 triumph.
In its following matchup, The Dalles All-Stars faced the Upper Rogue All-Stars (1-4), of Eagle Point, and trailed 3-0 in the top of the first inning.
They overcame the deficit with a huge rally in the home half by sending 14 batters to the plate, while capitalizing on Upper Rogue errors, along with three walks, a hit batter and two scoring runs on wild pitches.
McCoy, Flemming, Aby Ramey and Annikah Rubio each had RBIs to lead the rally, which put TD ahead, 8-3.
Upper Rogue got two runs in the third to inch to within 8-5, until Flemming hit an inside-the-park home run, which made it 9-5. Upper Rogue added a run in the fifth for the final 9-6 margin and the contest concluded with the 90-minute game time limit. Flemming had two RBIs and earned the Player-of-the-Game Award.
In Sunday’s play, The Dalles lost 8-3 to Kuna and defeated Upper Rogue by a 17-7 margin to vault into Monday’s semifinal versus Upper Rogue.
TD got off to a hot offensive start in that matchup with Flemming rifling a three-run, first-inning homer, and tacked on four runs in the second, led by RBI singles from Rubio and Sierra Faulkner and Fleming’s two-run double that extended the lead to 7-0.
Upper Rogue got as close as 7-3 in the third inning, but Faulkner and Charity Reckmann poked RBI singles to build an 11-3 advantage in the fourth frame of what turned into an 11-5 victory.
Flemming pitched two innings, walked two and struck out four and earned the Player-of-the Game Award.
Faulkner, the starting pitcher, had seven strikeouts with three walks.
“It feels good to be in the championship game,” said Flemming, an incoming The Dalles High freshman. “We were happy to win our earlier contests, so that we could play for the championship. We were hoping to win the championship and go to Florida. Last year we traveled to Idaho to play in regionals and two years ago we went to Medford, so it was nice being home for the tournament and I had lots of fun playing with all my friends on the team.”
In the championship matchup versus Kuna, The Dalles fell behind 2-0 in the first inning, until Reckmann’s RBI single drove home Sarah Hughes, who earlier hit a leadoff single, to make it 2-1 after two innings.
Kuna then scored five runs in the third inning to go up 7-2, and added two more runs in the fourth and one in the fifth frame for a 10-2 advantage.
The Dalles didn't give up fighting back to give themselves a chance and an opportunity to advance to the Babe Ruth World Series in Jansen Beach Florida.
In the sixth inning, The Dalles hammered eight hits, scored six runs and had the tying run at the plate, but Kuna stepped up defensively to thwart the comeback and then scored four in the seventh for the 14-8 title-clinching victory.
Faulkner, the starting pitcher, and Flemming, the reliever, combined for eight strikeouts and eight walks. Faulkner earned the Player-of-the-Game Award.
“Everybody was hitting well and some of our players batted twice in the sixth inning and it was just an amazing comeback effort,” said Reckmann, an incoming The Dalles High freshman. “At that point, everybody was pumped, we were ready, and we were all excited, but then things turned back in their favor. They (Kuna) are a very good team. We were hoping to win and go to Florida, but Kuna won the title and they deserved the regional championship.”
The Dalles 10U American All-Stars, a young and inexperienced group, with players who are one and two years younger than the 10U National squad, played tough even while posting a winless record.
Manager Ryan Young said he feelt they played well and had an impressive all-around effort throughout the competitive tournament.
“In the two weeks that we had together with the team, these girls all grew tremendously, and they learned so much from the time we started until the tournament ended,” Young said. "At the beginning, it was a lot of work for them to get those outs. At the end, they were making the plays much better. The repetition helped them, and they started to just figure it out. It took them awhile to learn how to do things, but after they learned what to do, then they started doing everything pretty well.”