Thursday, July 28, 2011/lk
Hood River got a little payback but Medford National came away with the state little league 9-10 title Saturday afternoon in Gresham.
After losing to Medford 6-5 in an extra innings heartbreaker Thursday night, Hood River bounced back Friday to crush Klamath Falls 16-5 Friday evening to set up a rematch in Saturday's championship.
Caden Leiblein hit a pair of home runs in the game.
Hood River needed to beat Medford twice to claim the title and took care of business in the first game winning 12-3, with a home run by JJ Mears and several spectacular plays from shortstop William Gross.
After watching Hood River's offense explode in the first game, and having seen them rally back repeatedly in the semifinal Friday, Medford wasted no time in building a big lead Saturday, scoring bunches of runs early to win 11-6.
"If we play that team 100 times we probably win 50 and they would probably win 50," said manager Rob Leiblein.
Leiblein said that despite the loss to end the tournament, the team was still happy with how it did overall.
"We were super excited," he said. "Our goal was to win district and get to state and see what we could accomplish."
The team routinely won games by the 10 run rule in both its district and state tournaments, and got numerous sparkling pitching performances along the way as well.
Leiblein said he was excited to see how the team develops as the players get older.
"The future looks good for these kids," he said.
Hood River is not done being represented in 9-10 state tournaments this summer. The 9-10 softball team opens play at its state tournament in Eugene this weekend.