After two dramatic wins to begin the weekend, the Corvallis Gerding Builders Marketmen cruised through Saturday’s matchup to advance to the final of the Mickey Riley Star Spangled Tournament.
The Marketmen topped the Eastside Cutters of Portland, 5-3, to capture their seventh straight win and improve to 3-0 in tournament play. Corvallis fell short in the tournament last season, but took home the first place-trophy in 2017 and will hope to win its home tournament when it faces Beaverton in Sunday’s final. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.
“There’s a lot of history with the tournament itself,” Corvallis coach Evan Hilberg said. “Mickey Riley was a big figure, so it’s important for us to honor him and be able to play in the final game of the tournament and hopefully be able to win it. But if not, still get some momentum going for early next week, too.”
As it has throughout the tournament, Corvallis got plenty of offensive support from the bottom of the batting order. Gage Mills cracked a two-run double in the second while batting out of the eight spot to push the Marketmen lead to 3-0.
It was a big moment for Mills, who is on the Marketmen roster for non-lArea III games only. He has been traveling during the summer, and recently returned from a trip to Mexico where he was helping out with an orphanage.
“It’s definitely weird being away for awhile and coming back,” Mills said. “Because you get so close with the team, playing so many consecutive games, and then you go away and have to get back together with everyone.”
An inning earlier, Caleb Beach had scored on Cooper Hartsell’s groundout to open the scoring for Corvallis.
The Cutters got on the board when Zander Lyons lifted a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to plate Graham Porter. An inning later, they added another run when Michael Bennett scored on a wild pitch.
The Marketmen kept pace when Grant Carley doubled and scored in the fifth, and in the sixth, Ryan Hall cracked a leadoff single, stole second and later scored to add an insurance run.
The run proved significant in the seventh, when Portland threatened to take hold of the game. The Cutters trimmed the Corvallis lead to 5-3 and brought the go-ahead run to the plate when Spencer Paugh stepped up with runners on first and second and one out.
He hit a sharp line drive to right field that looked like it could cause some trouble for Mills.
The play was already tricky to begin with — ball was hit hard and was tailing away from Mills — but it also drifted to an area of the outfield that wasn’t particularly well lit. Mills managed to track it down and keep the two runners from advancing, though.
“The lights were pretty dim and I couldn’t really see it,” Mills said. “At the very end I kind of reached and got it.”
The next batter, Michael Bennett, drilled a hard line drive that would have scored at least one run, but it was hit right at Hartsell, who caught it to end the game.
Whalley Chiefs, 8, Mid-Coast Dungies 7
Quin Hall scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning on a Mid-Coast throwing error to help the Chiefs to a win in the first game of the day. Hall drew a one-out walk, stole second and then scored on Matt Dagg’s grounder to third.
The rest of Whalley’s offense came during a seven-run third inning in which the Chiefs batted around and benefited from three walks and three hit batters. Ryan O’Charchin went 3 for 3 with an RBI for Whalley.
For the Dungies, Cole Strober led the way with a 3-for-5 day at the plate. Jack Stempel and Eli Demello each went 2 for 4 for Mid-Coast, which out hit the Chiefs 10 to 6.
Walla Walla Bears 5, Dr. Stewart’s (Roseburg) 2
Taylor Hamada, Kyren Morris and Kobe Morris led off the game with three straight singles and all scored to give Walla Walla an early boost. Hamada went 2 for 3 and scored twice, and Kyren Morris was 3 for 3 and drove on two runs.
On the mound, Kobe Morris tossed five scoreless innings and struck out two for the Bears in addition to his contribution at the plate.
Both of Roseburg’s runs came on Jace Stoffal’s two-run single in the sixth inning. Stoffal finished 1 for 3 on the day, as did K.C. Pettibone.
Beaverton 4, Dallas Dirtbags 0
Riley O’Connor tossed a complete game shutout to lead Beaverton, which will play Corvallis in Sunday’s championship game. O’Connor needed just 75 pitches to finish the outing and strike out one batter while allowing just six to reach base.
Mike Ball gave Beaverton all the offensive output it would need with a two-run double in the first inning, and Darik Salinas doubled and scored in the seventh inning.
Connor Laeng racked up two of Dallas’s four hits with a pair of singles, and Erik Swanson tossed 5⅔ innings and struck out two for the Dirtbags.