Lake Oswego 10U baseball stars break away to win state championship
The Lake Oswego 10U baseball stars did it all.
The young Lakers, competing in the Little League Baseball 10U state tournament at Riverside Park in Clackamas, won four straight games at state, capping their tournament run with an 11-2 rout of Bend North in the tournament championship on Thursday, July 11.
Along the way, they hit the heck out of the ball — the Lakers outscored their opponents 51-12. They got it done with their arms — LO pitchers held their opposition to an average of fewer than four hits per game. And they ruled with their defense too, committing 11 fewer errors than their four vanquished opponents.
After their win over Bend North in the title contest, the Lakers had no problem summing up their feelings.
"It feels really good," said Lake Oswego second baseman and leadoff hitter Cole Sturgeon, who reached base four times and scored three runs in the championship game. "Having the plaque put on the wall at Westlake (Park) will be awesome."
Teammates Jackson Caylor and Ben Robertson were even more succinct. Caylor played catcher for almost all of the state tournament, while Robertson threw a complete game in the finale, allowing just two runs on four hits, one walk and one hit batter while striking out two.
It was "great," Caylor said of the championship-game win, while Robertson simply added "amazing."
Lake Oswego opened its tournament with a 14-2 win over Medford American on Saturday, July 6, dumped Corvallis 12-4 on Sunday, July 7, knocked off Hollywood Rose City 14-4 on Tuesday, July 9, then closed its run by racing away from Bend North.
"(The key to the championship was) chemistry," Robertson said. "Everyone was friends with each other. Everyone was cheering for each other."
"We controlled what we knew we had control over," Caylor added. "We did a great job of controlling our effort and attitudes."
After a pair of scoreless innings at the start of the championship game, Lake Oswego broke through with three runs in the top of the third. Ellis Bayne got things started when he singled hard to left field and took second on an error, moved to third when Sturgeon reached base on an error, and scored when Ethan Uecker doubled down the third base line.
After Robertson reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases, Ezra Carlston came through with another double down the third base line to plate both Sturgeon and Uecker.
But Bend North answered with a pair of runs in its half of the third, taking advantage of one walk, one hit, two errors and a wild pitch to cut Lake Oswego's lead to 3-2.
The Lakers hardly blinked, however, responding with four runs in the top of the fourth and four more in the top of the fifth to put Bend North away. In the fourth, the Lakers turned up the pressure and the Bend North defense cracked. Bend North committed three errors in the frame, walked three Lake Oswego batters and saw LO's Reid Stanton, Beckett Heher, Carson Hubley and Sturgeon all come home to score.
In the fifth, Heher, Bayne and Sturgeon drew consecutive walks, Uecker was hit by a pitch to force home one run and Robertson followed with a three-run double to right-center field that boosted his team's lead to 11-2.
All of that was more than Robertson needed. After Bend North's two-run third, Robertson and his defense allowed just three hits and three baserunners in the final three innings, with Robertson notching a strikeout to end the game.
"The team was loud and we never got down," Sturgeon said. "Teammates always lifted each other up when things didn't go well."
In the win over Hollywood-Rose City, Robertson had four hits and four RBIs, Carlston went 2 for 4 with four RBIs, Sturgeon and Uecker scored three times each, and Nate Cook walked and scored once. Robertson picked up the win with Carlston and Stanton helping in relief.
Against Corvallis, Heher and Carlston had two RBIs apiece, Ryan Warhank went 1 for 1 with one run and a walk, and Luke Smith walked once and scored once.
In the win over Medford, Robertson went 2 for 2 with two RBIs and two runs, Heher was 2 for 2 with one RBI and one run, Carlston knocked in three runs and Caylor two.
The Lakers — managed by Brad Smith with assistance from coaches Keith Caylor and Tony Sturgeon — previously won five straight games to clinch the District 4 championship.
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