As the hometown crowd multiplied at Forest Home Park, so did the determination of the Camas Little League all-stars to win districts.
“You would look around every once in a while and see more people showing up,” said manager Casey Taylor. “For a bunch of 9- and 10-year-olds playing baseball, that’s amazing. It means you’re doing something right.”
Unsatisfied by a four-run first inning, Camas scored six more times in the sixth to put the finishing touches on a 10-0 victory against Evergreen in the championship game Sunday.
Justin Taylor jump started the offense with an RBI double in the first inning. He ended the game in similar fashion by driving a pitch off the center field fence for a 2-run double that put the mercy rule into effect.
“I was just happy because my whole team started hitting well after that first run,” Taylor said. “It got everybody pumped up.”
Ethan Hubbell pitched his heart out for six innings. He allowed just one hit and racked up 11 strikeouts on 68 pitches.
“I was in the zone. Nobody touched me,” Hubbell said. “The goal is to win state. We’re not satisfied yet. We’re still hungry for more baseball.”
After Zach Blair scored on Taylor’s double in the first inning, Camas loaded the bases with one out. Cade Gehlen added an RBI groundout. Holt Williams then came through with a 2-out, 2-run single.
Williams and Hubble drove in runs in the sixth inning. Blair added an RBI groundout, and Easton McCarty followed with a 2-run single. This set the stage for Taylor’s walk off 2-run line drive to the fence.
“It was kind of exciting,” he said. “Well, that’s it.”
Stephen Behil, Carson Gilligan, Jackson Knuth, Andrew Miller, Ethan Ouchi, Tyler Stewart and Aaron Sung also contributed. Camas outscored its opponents 60-3.
Coach Taylor thanked the 13 ballplayers for working as one to solve the championship puzzle.
“It didn’t matter who the opponent was. We were just out there playing baseball, pitch by pitch,” he said. “Sometimes an at-bat doesn’t go your way, but there’s always the next one. The kids never lost sight of that approach.”
Camas enters the state tournament Saturday, in Montesano.
“I am extremely excited because these kids are so well deserving. They have done every single thing we have asked them to do every single day,” Taylor said. “Camas doesn’t have a state team banner yet. Why not us? We should be the first ones to hang that banner up at our park.”
State begins 50/70 stars
Camas defeated Salmon Creek 8-6 Saturday in the first round of the intermediate level state all-star baseball tournament, at Givens Playfield in Port Orchard.
With two outs and two strikes in the top of the seventh inning of a 5-5 game, Eli Ferres knocked in Ty Mairs to put Camas in the driver’s seat. Jacob Rumble added a 2-run home run to increase the lead to three. Jake Blair pitched the final 1.3 innings to secure the victory.
Camas defeated Cascade 13-2, July 1, and 33-2, July 2, to become district champions. Players are Jake Blair, Eli Ferres, Jordan Geigenmiller, Micah Harimoto, Brandin Isbell, Colton Jackson, Christian Knuth, Ty Mairs, Josh Mansur, Jake Rumble, Eli Sivers, Cameron Smith and Grant Spady.