Clatsop County baseball was the very definition of success in the summer of 2004, capped by the accomplishments of local Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken League All-Star teams.
Among the highlights:
A second-place finish for the Lower Columbia 10-year-old All-Stars at the state tournament in West Linn;
A state championship for the Lower Columbia 12-B All-Stars, who defeated West Linn 2-1 in the title game;
The Astoria 14-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars took third in the state tournament in Salem;
A fourth-place state finish for the Astoria 13-15-year-old All-Stars, who hosted this year's state tournament;
The Babe Ruth 13-year-old All-Stars also finished fourth at state, losing their final game to Southeast Portland;
And last but not least, the Lower Columbia 12-year-old All-Stars finished one game away from a trip to the World Series, taking second in last week's Regional tournament in Eugene.
Sunday's 14-3 loss to Kennewick ended a great run for the 12's, who extended their season by two months, and finished with a 26-4 record.
Lower Columbia opened the tournament with a 5-4 win over Twin Falls, Idaho, who held a 4-1 lead in the top of the third.
In the bottom of the third, a clutch single by Lower Columbia's Dane Lund scored Marcus Brown and Max "Cheddar" Johnson to tie the game at 4-4.
The Lower Columbia 10-year-old All-Stars, second place at state tournament.In the sixth inning, Brown beat out an infield hit with two outs, scoring Trevor Couch with the go-ahead run.
In Friday's pool play, Lower Columbia built a 3-0 lead over Kennewick in the first on a triple by Lund and a run-scoring single by Cody Strickland.
Johnson had a double in their next at-bat, scoring Taylor Landwehr and Marc Gallegos for a 5-1 advantage.
Kennewick battled back and took a 6-5 lead, before Lower Columbia tied the game in the fourth.
The teams headed to extra innings, and in the top of the eighth, Brown drew a walk and Johnson singled. Lund came up with another of his several triples in the tournament, and Couch had a run-scoring base hit to help Lower Columbia to a 10-6 win.
The locals didn't have much time to celebrate, as they had to play back-to-back games, facing Willamette Valley in the next game.
The hosts built a 5-1 lead, but Lower Columbia scored six in the third, three in the fourth and six in the fifth to win going away.
Couch pitched a complete game, allowing only three hits.
Zach Dursse went 2-for-4, as did Brown, who had an inside-the-park home run. Johnson added two triples, Lund had two doubles and a triple, and Ian Erickson tripled to put Lower Columbia into the semifinals.
Lower Columbia 13-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars, fourth at state tournament.Facing Skagit Valley, Lower Columbia took a 2-0 lead in the second on a two-run single by Jacob Davis.
Junior State Division 1 ChampionsYear Championship Game
1950 Albany 2, Salem 1
1951 Eugene 4, Albany 1
1952 Albany 8, Eugene 4
1953 Salem 4, Albany 2
1954 Thurston 6, Albany 2
1955 Albany 10, Salem 8
1956 Albany 13, Salem 4
1957 Sweet Home 20, Bend 2
1958 Eugene 2, Grants Pass 1
1959 Crater 5, Eugene 4
1960 Drain 3, Eugene 0
1961 Eugene 2, Albany 0
1962 Salem 2, Molalla 1
1963 Crater 9, Santa Clara 8
1964 Crater 12, Woodburn 4
1965 Parkrose 4, Corvallis 1
1966 Oregon City 6, Cascade 1
1967 Eugene 6, Lebanon 1
1968 Crater 1, Oregon City 0
1969 Corvallis 4, Eugene 0
1970 Crater 2, Eugene 1
1971 Eugene 4, Corvallis 3
1972 Springfield 6, Cedar West 1
1973 Stayton 3, Churchill 2
1974 C. Grove 4, Cedar Hills 1
1975 N. Eugene 5, Rockwood 2
1976 Willamette 13, N. Eugene 4
1977 Marist 3, Churchill 2
1978 Marist 10, Churchill 3
1979 Sunset 4, Springfield 3
1980 Sunset 2, Springfield 0
1981 Corvallis 9, Barlow 8
1982 Sheldon 8, Hood River 3
1983 Gresham 9, Canby 7
1984 Cleveland 8, Columbia 5
1985 Bend 7, Sheldon 5
1986 Lakeridge 12, Jesuit 3
1987 Columbia 8, Milwaukie 1
1988 Bend 7, Lebanon 6
1989 Roosevelt 12, Seaside 11
1990 Oregon City 11, Thurston 0
1991 Thurston 11, Springfield 5
1992 West Albany 4, Cres. Valley 0
1993 Pleasant Hill 5, Scappoose 1
1994 Scappoose 10, West Albany 1
1995 Florence 2, Tillamook 1
1996 Redmond 6, Pleasant Hill 4
1997 Philomath 4, Junction City 0
1998 Warrenton 15, Churchill 6
1999 Lebanon 7, Crescent Valley 0
2000 Marist 5, Astoria 4
2001 Rainier 6, Pleasant Hill 3
2002 Seaside 4, Jesuit 3
2003 Warrenton 6, Beaverton 5
2004 Oregon City 4, West Salem 2Meanwhile, Johnson held Skagit Valley to just one hit through five innings, before Skagit scored a run in the sixth. Landwehr finished up on the mound in a 3-1 win.
In the championship game against Kennewick, the locals just couldn't get their bats going, as Lower Columbia managed just three hits in the 11-run loss.
"Our kids really came out ready to play Sunday, too," said Lower Columbia coach Craig Brown. "They weren't over-confident at all."
However, "Kennewick's bats seemed to place the balls in places we just couldn't get to," he said. Kennewick finished with 10 hits.
"Our hats go off to these kids," Brown said. "They are a great bunch of young men, for being 12 years old and a couple at 11."
"These kids rode a lot of emotions through the last six weeks, as well as the coaches committing themselves to four-a-week practices. They gained a lot of respect everywhere we went," he said. "Teams were always commenting on our attitude and were usually rooting for us come the finals."
The team was well-coached by Kevin Brown, with Mark Erickson and Craig Brown.
"Along with a lot of help from most of the other parents, it was truly a team effort all season," Craig Brown said.
In addition to their second-place finish at Regionals, the locals brought home two championship trophies, a North Oregon State Championship, and a third-place trophy from Olympia, Wash.
It was the second Lower Columbia 12-year-old All-Star team to win a North Oregon Championship. The 12's of 1992 also won the title, but went 0-2 at Regionals in Longview.