The Del Norte Little League 11–12 Softball All-Stars make history in Oregon this past weekend
The end result was less than ideal — fifth place out of seven teams in a tournament — but the Del Norte Little League Girls 11–12 Softball All-Stars made history.
Courtesy of Tony Douglas The Del Norte Little League 11–12 Softball All-Stars finished fifth at the Oregon Little League State Championships, held Friday through Sunday in Scappoose, Ore. The Warriors finished the tournament with a 1-3 record.
Del Norte, the Oregon District 8 champions of its age group, became the first team from California to compete in an Oregon Little League state championship at any age level. The Warriors competed for the 11–12 softball state championship Friday through Sunday in Scappoose, Ore.
“Before every game, they would go through all the announcements,” assistant coach John Horner said. “Every game, it was quite comical when they said, ‘Representing Oregon District 8, from California...’
“They were very hospitable, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a lot of eyes on us.”
Del Norte Little League was in its first season as a member of Oregon District 8 after separating from California District 26 in January. The reason for the split with District 26 — including Little League organizations in McKinleyville, Arcata, Eureka, Fortuna and surrounding suburbs — was Del Norte Little League’s desire to keep both baseball and softball under the Little League banner. (District 26 members split their softball teams off into Amateur Softball Association competition.)
The Warriors went 3-0 in the Oregon District 8 11–12 softball tournament to punch their ticket to Scappoose, a town of 6,599 located 20 miles northwest of Portland. Coaches and players made a camping trip of the whole affair, settling for the weekend in Vernonia, a town 25 miles west of Scappoose.
“We were treated like kings up there,” Horner said regarding Vernonia. “That was such a hospitable town.”
On Friday, the tournament’s first day, Del Norte dropped both games of a double-header in round-robin play.
The South Salem Little League (Salem, Ore.) All-Stars defeated the Warriors, 5-2, in the first game. Del Norte fell to Peninsula Little League (Portland), 21-6 in five innings, after allowing 15 runs in the fourth inning.
The Warriors bounced back with their first and only win of the tournament on Saturday against Bend South Little League (Bend, Ore.), a 16-1, five-inning victory. Tamesha Jordan of Del Norte did not allow a hit to a Bend South batter in the contest.
The tournament, however, came to an end for the Warriors Sunday at the hands of Pendleton (Ore.) Little League, which defeated Del Norte 10-0.
A difficult ending, but the girls from Del Norte County nonetheless left their mark.
“The amazing thing was, we got complimented by fans, coaches, and umpires that said our team played very fundamental (softball), played with tons of heart, definitely knew the game,” Horner said.
Team members included Jordan, Laycee Coopman, Shelby Horner, Madeline Burtschell, Hannah Baldwin, Maiah Calleja, Allison Douglas, McKenzy Fernandes and Kes-e-loh McQuillen. Angie Calleja was the team’s manager, with Horner and his brother, Mark, acting as assistant coaches.
“It was the help from the community that made it possible for all the kids to go,” Horner said. “They made it possible with the car washes, the salmon feed and a generous donation from Angie Galindo.”
Baseball seasons end
The 10–11 Baseball All-Stars fell to Grants Pass National, 11-1 in five innings, on July 6 to end their season. Del Norte took a 1-0 lead into the fourth inning before succumbing.
Members of the 10–11 All-Stars were Gabe Provencio, Chase Blackburn, Nick Freeman, Alex Dodson, Justin Goudelock, Timothy Thompson, Brandon Munoz, Brock Reagen, Luke King, Scott Peters and Richard Dollar. Rich Goudelock managed the team, and Israel Reagen and Scott Freeman assisted.
The 9–10 Baseball All-Stars and the 11–12 Baseball All-Stars also saw their seasons come to an end in Gold Hill.
Members of the 9–10 All-Stars included Kaden Ritter, Daylen O’Reilly, Damien Dowd, Tyler Hampton, Curtis Turner, Anthony Hernandez, Isaiah Sherman, Coulson Ridgley, Harrison Nelson and Gabe Dixon. Josh Ritter served as the team’s head coach.
Eric Gardner, Preston Nunez, Matt Smedley, Jorge Landeros, Giovanni Gonzalez, Zach Gabel, Collin Mattz, Andy Larson, O.J. Calleja, Sebastian Puente and A.J. Schultz played for the 11–12 All-Stars this season. Byron Gardner served as the team’s head coach, with Jesse Puente and O.J. Calleja Sr. assisting.