Majors mash competition at districts

Camas all-stars outscored opponents 55-7

The Camas Little League 11- and 12-year-old baseball all-stars collect their district championship medals. Players are Cannon Bauman, Stephen Behil, Zach Blair, Kaisen Burr, Cade Gehlen, Carson Gilligan, Ethan Hubbell, Jackson Knuth, Easton McCarty, Tyler Stewart, Aaron Sung, Jacob Swenson, Justin Taylor and Holt Williams.

The Camas Major all-stars mashed the competition in the Little League Washington District 4 tournament at David Douglas Park, in Vancouver.

This baseball team of 11- and 12-year-olds creamed Cascade 13-3 July 6, splintered Fort Vancouver 12-2 Saturday, conquered Mt. Adams 18-0 Sunday, and then shredded Fort Vancouver 12-2 in the championship game Monday. These Camas boys have won three district titles in a row.

“I love these knuckleheads. They crack me up every day,” said manager Casey Taylor. “One of the things I appreciate about them is they haven’t tuned me out yet. When you hear that same voice over and over again, it can get old. My coaches and I have found different ways to mix things up a little bit just to keep it fresh, challenge them and bring in new wrinkles. And they have stayed in tune with it. They have done a good job of handling it all.”

Camas took care of business in the first two games, before hitting three home runs against Mt. Adams. Zach Blair’s towering fly ball over the left field fence with one out in the third inning was the first domino to fall.

“We all loosened up after Zach hit that home run and kind of went off from there,” said shortstop Jackson Knuth.

Easton McCarty followed with a line drive base hit and Justin Taylor brought him home on an RBI double. Knuth then hit jackpot when he deposited the baseball into the tree branches above the center field fence for a 3-run home run.

“It feels good when everybody comes out to home plate,” Knuth said. “Our team really cares about each other’s success and pick each other up off their failures.”

Camas led 6-0, but was just getting started. Carson Gilligan, Aaron Sung and Blair drove in runs before Mt. Adams finally got out of the top of the third. Camas tacked on nine more runs in the fourth inning. Kaisen Burr delivered an RBI double, Blair added a 2-run single and Taylor smacked a 3-run home run.

“When one person starts the rally, then it just goes on and on and on,” Burr said. “It motivates me. I feel like I can get a hit, too.”

Burr knocked in three runs during the championship game, and Knuth notched another home run. Taylor, Holt Williams, Tyler Stewart, Gilligan and Ethan Hubble also came up with clutch hits that brought home runs.

“Everybody did their part, and we ended up 10-running them,” Knuth said. “It feels good to win this three times in a row. We’ve been out here lots of times working hard and doing our best, and it shows in our games.”

Camas advances to the state tournament, which starts Saturday, July 15, at Federal Way. Coach Taylor said these boys have competed with the best in the area. Now it’s time to compete at state.

“I think last year we went in with a little more hope — hope we get lucky, hope a bounce goes our way — and things got away from us in a hurry in a couple games,” Taylor said. “The game of baseball is the game of baseball. Somebody’s got to throw it, somebody’s got to hit it and somebody’s got to catch it. If we can control what we can control and play the game of baseball to the best of our abilities, I think we’ll be OK.”

Taylor thanks the hometown fans for their support. Every game, the crowd just seems to get bigger.

“I think people just want to come watch these boys play baseball because they’re good baseball players,” Taylor said. “When you see good athletics in Camas, the community is going to rally around that. I think that’s what’s happening to these boys. They’re representing Camas well.”