Valley All-Star teams both start with splits

<p>A baserunner for the Wallowa Valley 11/12 All-Stars slides into home plate during WV's Sunday, June 26, game against Pilot Rock. WV defeated Pilot Rock, 13-2.</p>

Wallowa Valley’s two Little League baseball All-Star teams both split their weekend contests representing first-half action in the District 3 tournament taking place in Pendleton and La Grande. The district’s softball tournament begins Saturday, July 2.

In the “majors” division (ages 11 and 12), WV’s hardballers rebounded from a 16-6 loss to Harney County in their Saturday, June 25, opener to bury Pilot Rock, 13-2, on Sunday, June 26. 

Thanks to the 10-run rule, WV only had to play five innings in Sunday’s win. WV Coach Matt Howard said this was a welcome development on a hot day.

Howard credited Harney County with playing quite well in Saturday’s loss. “Our kids played well too,” Howard said. “We had only one strikeout [on offense] the whole day, which was good.” An offensive highlight for WV was Trent Bales’ home run with one man aboard.

The Wallowa Valley team put it all together on Sunday. “We really hit the ball well and our pitching was excellent,” Howard said. The team also fielded well, he added.

WV got its second homer of the tourney, Josh Rummell’s three-run blast over the right-center field fence.

Rummell and teammate Bales are both left-handed hitters.

WV used a trio of pitchers in Sunday’s game. Starter Chandler Burns was limited to 20 pitches so he would be eligible to return to the mound on Monday. He was followed by Travis Haga, who featured fastballs and knuckleballs in his dominant two innings-plus. Rummell then pitched another two innings-plus to close out the win.

The 9- and 10-year-old hardball team was meanwhile faring similarly this past weekend, but in reverse order. WV opened its tourney with a Saturday win, 11-1 over Milton-Freewater, and lost on Sunday, 16-6 to Baker. Further details about these contests were unavailable at press time.

In softball, WV’s 9- and 10-year-old team opens against Triangle on Saturday, July 2, before playing Baker on Sunday, July 3, and Pendleton on Monday, July 4. The 11- and 12-year-old team’s July 2-4 schedule includes, respectively,  Baker, La Grande and Grant County. Both divisions’ opponents for Tuesday, July 5, are yet to be determined, and the tourney championships will be held Wednesday, July 5.

Late Update: The WV minors and majors Little League baseball teams were both eliminated on Monday, June 27, as the minors team lost to La Grande, 15-5, and the majors players were narrowly bested by Baker City, 15-13. Both WV squads finished with 1-2 records in their tournaments.

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