The Bend North Majors All-Stars are still in the hunt. But the season is over for the Bend North Juniors.
A 9-3 win over Pendleton in a Monday morning elimination game left Bend North among four teams remaining in the Majors (ages 10-12) division of the Oregon Little League baseball state championship tournament. The Bend All-Stars play another loser-out game at 2 p.m. Tuesday against Hollywood-Rose City of Portland, which advanced in the losers bracket with a 12-2 victory Monday over Medford American.
The eight-team Majors state tournament is being held at Sky View Middle School in Bend, as is the Oregon Little League Juniors (ages 12-14) state tourney, from which host Bend North was eliminated Monday. The Bend North Juniors battled La Grande into the late innings before falling 12-8, their second loss in the five-team, double-elimination tournament.
In the Juniors game, Bend North scored four runs on five hits in the top of the first inning to take early control. And when Peyton Carroll launched a three-run homer to center field in the third inning, the Bend All-Stars were up 7-3.
Bend starting pitcher Alex Via worked five solid innings, allowing five runs on seven hits with three strikeouts. Via was replaced on the mound after five innings with an 8-4 lead, then La Grande rallied for seven runs on three hits in the sixth to take a lead it would not surrender.
In addition to Carroll’s home run, offensive leaders for the Bend North Juniors included Ashton Oliver with three hits and Via with two.
La Grande advances to another loser-out game at 5 p.m. Tuesday against Del Norte of Crescent City, California, which lost 22-6 to Murrayhill of Beaverton in the winners bracket Monday. The La Grande-Del Norte winner will face Murrayhill on Wednesday and will need to win twice to overtake Murrayhill for the state Juniors championship.
The winner of the Oregon Juniors tournament qualifies for the Junior League Baseball West Region championships, set for July 26-Aug. 3 in San Jose, California.
The winner of the Oregon Majors tournament advances to the Little League Northwest Region championships, scheduled Aug. 4-10 in San Bernardino, California. And that team could be Bend North, which broke away from a 3-3 third-inning tie with Pendleton on Monday to bounce back from a 5-3 loss to Sprague of Salem on Sunday and improve to 2-1 in the tournament.
Bend North Majors coach Todd Sheets credited a good team effort against Pendleton that included nine hits and the combined seven-hit pitching of two Bend hurlers for keeping the hosts in contention.
Also in the Majors tournament on Tuesday, unbeatens Murrayhill and Sprague square off at 11 a.m., the winner advancing to Thursday’s championship round and the loser moving into an elimination game at 11 a.m. Wednesday against Tuesday’s Bend North vs. Hollywood-Rose City winner.