Murrayhill defeated Pendleton 9 - 3
Murrayhill does it again
— — — Murrayhill pitcher Jace Fry struck out 11 batters enroute to earning a complete game. His wicked curveball combined with a 74-mph fastball to keep hot-hitting Pendleton completely cold.
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Beaverton-based team routs Pendleton to clinch fourth straight 11-12 state title
Pendleton put up a fight, but Murrayhill put up a Fry, and in the end that was plenty good enough for a record-setting win.
Jace Fry struck out 11 batters and Murrayhill belted three home runs Thursday night, as the Beaverton-based all-star team maintained its dominance in Oregon with a 9-3 championship-clinching win in the 11-12 Little League baseball state tournament at Hunter Park.
The resounding victory earned the District 4 champs their fourth straight state title, setting an Oregon record for consecutive state championships.
“It’s pretty cool,” Murrayhill manager Jeff Keller said. “We set this goal six weeks ago when we brought this team together and these guys worked their tails off. It’s something that these guys should be really proud of. They deserve it. They’ve earned it.”
Murrayhill will now represent Oregon at the Northwest regional tournament, Aug. 4-13 in San Bernardino, Calif. The championship game will be televised live on ESPN2.
Coming into the game undefeated Murrayhill could have afforded a loss in the championship round, but didn’t take any chances with Fry on the mound. Combining an overpowering fastball clocked at 74 mph with a wicked curveball, the rock-solid southpaw retired 15 of the first 18 batters he faced and held the bottom of Pendleton’s order to a combined 0-for-13.
“I think this is our seventh tournament of the year and he’s the best pitcher we’ve faced,” Pendleton manager Steve Richards said of Fry. “He really spots his pitches well and gets ahead of the batters and we just struggled. Our philosophy today was to jump on his fastball early, but we had trouble even catching up with his fastball.”
Fry also gave Murrayhill a quick 1-0 lead with a 230-foot blast only two pitches into the team’s first at bat
Murrayhill added three more runs on two more homers a two-run dinger by Derek Keller and a solo bomb by Sam Albert -- in the third, then broke the game open with a five-run fifth that all but finished Pendleton.
The District — champions didn’t go down without a fight, however. Lane Richards broke up Fry’s no-hitter with a leadoff single in the sixth and Pendleton went on to score all its runs that inning, but Fry fittingly struck out the last two batters he faced to end the threat and clinch the berth to regionals.
“It feels really good, exciting again -- just like last year,” Fry said.
Keller went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and Albert finished 2-for-3 with two runs, as the top four in Murrayhill’s lineup combined to go 6-for-11 at the plate with three home runs against Pendleton ace John Kline.
Sean Van Pelt and Tanner Livesay each drove in a run for Pendleton, which saw its best chance to seriously threaten Murrayhill evaporate in the fourth. That’s when Pendleton had two base-runners on and nobody out with Van Pelt at the plate, only to watch Fry smother the rally by getting three straight clutch outs against the heart of Pendleton’s order Van Pelt struck out, Livesay grounded out and Trevor Hancock flied out to deep center.
Kline threw nearly as hard as Fry his best fastball was clocked at 72 mph but Murrayhill still managed eight hits as a team.
“I didn’t pitch very good,” Kline said.
Pendleton, the last team to beat Murrayhill in a state playoff game (a 4-1 win back in 2004), finished 4-2 at state, with its only two losses coming to Murayhill. Pendleton lost 5-1 to Murrayhill in the second round, but rebounded nicely with three straight wins in the loser’s bracket, scoring 27 runs in the process.
Murrayhill dismantled its four state tournament opponents by a combined score of 30-8.
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— — ABOVE:
Jace Fry is greeted by his teammates after hitting a home run in the 1st inning.
Murrayhill Manager Jeff Keller is congratulated by Pendleton Manager Doug Kline after the game.