The Dalles’ 10U Little League All-Stars were eliminated from playoff contention after back-to-back mercy-ruled losses to Bend North and Bend South in District 5 action this weekend from Madras.
With two of the 12 active players having the only postseason experience, manager Jimmy Spowehn knew the team had its work cut out for it, especially facing good teams to start out.
“In our outfield meeting after the last game, I reminded them all that part of sports and life is taking your lumps, taking the losses and learning from your mistakes. Those help you grow as a person, grow as an athlete and grow as a student and that it will get better from here,” he said.
Saturday, TD lost to Bend North by a 17-0 score, which put them in the loser’s bracket for Sunday’s game versus Bend South, which was also a 17-0 defeat.
“It was not exactly what we planned on opening day for this team going into all-stars,” Spowehn said. “There were some tears and heads hung low, but after the game, we all picked our heads up and knew we had to move forward. They never gave up. They went out there and played hard. At the end of the day, everybody was smiling, so they were able to get a good experience with this. What happened here will definitely help them as they keep playing.”
On the team for coaches Craig Gunderson, Corey Case and Spowehn were Sawyer Case, Ely Rogers Joel Ortega, Harley Beaver, Chase Peterson, Landon Spowehn, Thatcher Dray, Emmett Gunderson, Camden Dooley Bryson Cates, Ben Graham, and Caden Rippy.
Ely Lavine was also on the team, but did not participate due to injury.
“I am extremely proud of these kids,” Spowehn said. “We knew going in that we were going to be the younger, less-experienced group. Everyone showed a passion for the game and made some great memories off the field as well. I hope each one of them can use this as an opportunity to grow as athletes, students and as individuals. Also, a shoutout to all of the parents who made the journey and had the kids’ back and supported them 100 percent of the way.”
As next season approaches, Landon Spowehn, Beaver, Dooley, Lavine, Rogers, Emmett Gunderson, Bryson Cates and Peterson, will jump up to the 11U classification, while the others have more eligibility remaining for play at the same 10U level.
“If that core group of kids sticks together, they have the potential to great things,” coach Spowehn said. “A couple of them have two more years at the 10U level, some will have another year. If they continue to grow together, they will be in good shape. I am excited about their future.”