The Wallowa Valley boys Little League Majors all-star baseball team finished the season with a step in the right direction. The boys put in a solid performance at the district all-star tournament in Hermiston.
The first game, on Saturday, June 22, saw the lads match up with Milton Freewater, easily winning the game, 6-1. The following day saw the squad facing La Grande.
The game did not go quite as well, despite a solid team performance, particularly of pitcher Tyler Knapp. The score stood tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth when La Grande broke the game open, scoring two runs that led to its 4-2 victory over Wallowa Valley.
Coach Cameron Albee said the boys hit the ball extremely well.
“It was a really fun game to watch because the game was played at a high level,” Albee said. “There weren’t many errors and pitchers didn’t issue many walks. Our kids showed they could compete with any level of little league team in our district.”
He also singled out the pitching performance of Knapp as a high point.
“When he pitched that game, I have to say it was one of the finest pitching efforts I’ve ever seen,” he said. “That kid’s a great athlete.”
Wallowa Valley played Columbia, a combined team of Stanfield, Echo, Boardman and Umatilla kids on Monday, June 24. Again, Wallowa Valley rose to the occasion, beating that squad 8-3, to stay alive in the tournament.
Wallowa Valley played Hermiston the following day, but fell, 14-1. Coach Albee said the loss ended the tournament for the squad who placed fourth in the seven-team tournament.
“It’s an uphill battle for Wallowa County,” Albee said. “We’re competing against Baker City, Hermiston, La Grande and Pendleton — those teams have a lot of kids to choose from.”
He added that he saw the group as a great bunch of kids with high potential, whose love of the game made them a pleasure to coach. Albee also wished to extend thanks and recognition to assistant coaches Curtis and Kallie Jackson.