SH Jr. American team third in state baseball tourney

Sweet Home Jr. American 11-12-year-old baseball team sponsored by Melcher Logging finished third in the state baseball playoffs last weekend, the highest finish in that tournament by a Sweet Home team, according to Boys and Girls Club offiicals.

The team, coached by Leon Olson, with assistance from Scott Melcher, Tim Holly and Lonnie Keenon, won the league tournament on July 18-19, beating Lebanon in the first round, 10-2 and West Albany in the finals, 11-1.

In the first round of the state playoffs, Sweet Home had 23 hits as it 10-runned host Willamette, then beat Sellwood 23-3 in the second round.

In the third round, Sweet Home trailed 7-3 in the sixth inning against Clark County #1, but Colton Schilling hit a double to score three runs and Sweet Home added another to tie the score and send the game into extra innings. Then Christian Voldbaek delivered the game-winning hit to give Sweet Home an 8-7 victory.

Sweet Home then beat Westview 10-7, which advanced them to the semifinals against South Salem.

Though Sweet Home had beaten South Salem – the only team in the league to do so – earlier in the season, the local team’s run was over and they lost 10-0. South Salem went on to win the state championship.

“We played too many good games in a row,” Olson said.

The loss dropped Sweet Home into the consolation bracket to play number –one seed Clackamas, and the locals lost that game 8-7.

Sweet Home hit .417 in the playoffs, including home runs from Colton Holly, Austin Mizsei, Justin Rice and Wade Paulus. Paulus led the team with 14 hits, while Nate Melcher and Trever Olson contributed 11 and Colton Holly 10.

Leon Olson praised pitchers Holly, Paulus, Drayson Ceuvas, Justin Rice and Kory Vandeusen for their performance on the mound.

“They all logged good innings,” he said.

The team finished the season 32-14, including three tournament wins.

“It was a great season,” Olson said. “The kids came along way. They get along so well. They’re friends on and off the field.”

He said the state tournament director complimented the players on their good play and attitudes on the field.

He said he wanted to thank the parents, who transported players to practice and “five or six tournaments” and team mother Wendi Melcher, who made arrangements when the team was on the road.

Other local Boys and Girls Club teams that finished well were:

– The 9-10-year-old C&C Timber girls softball team, coached by Steve Thorpe, which finished second in the league tournament. The team finished 9-1 in league to win the regular season competition.

– The 11-12-year-old Armstrong Cutters girls softball team, coached by Pat Davis, which won its first game in the league playoffs before losing in the second round.

– The 13-14-year-old NAPA girls softball team, coached Randy Stewart, which finished the season 12-3 and second in the league tournament after losing the final game to Keller-Williams of Albany, a team Sweet Home had beaten earlier in the season.

– The 9-10-year-old Nathan Tolman Dentistry midget boys team, which swept the Valley League 8-0 then won two more games to win the league championship.