Sweet Home Sr. American fourth in state baseball

Sweet Home’s Senior American baseball team took home a fourth-place trophy at the state baseball tournament at Williams Field in Corvallis.

Sweet Home Coach Leon Olson said his team had a good run this season.

“It was a little disappointing finish but it was a great year,” he said.

Sweet Home finished 47-6, including three tournament championships.

After coming out of the consolation bracket to win their league title the previous week, Sweet Home got off to a good start in Corvallis Thursday with an 11-0 victory over Tualatin.

In the quarterfinals against Camas, Wash., the eventual champion, the locals trailed 3-2 in the top of the seventh before “the wheels came off,” Olson said.

“A few bad calls, a few errors, a few walks and the next thing you know we were down by 11 runs,” he said. The final score was 14-3.

In the consolation bracket, Sweet Home needed a win to get on the trophy stand and came through, 9-8, against Evergreen, Wash., another tough team from the Tri-County League, which is composed of clubs from the Portland area and southern Washington.

Sweet Home faced the Vancouver Bulldogs, a team that Olson noted trains year-round, in the consolation final Saturday.

Although Sweet Home beat Vancouver 11-4 earlier in the season at the North Marion Tournament, the local boys were unable to generate their typical offense, losing 6-0.

“You get to that point, every team was solid,” Olson said.”

He said he didn’t want to single out any particular players, but as a group Sweet Home “exceeded my expectations coming into the season.”

“I think we were all proud of the boys,” he said. “They played hard the whole way through.”

Most of the players were involved in the 11-12 team that took third two years ago.

“I think it’s just a culmination of all their hard work over the years,” Olson said of this year’s run. “This group, I’ve had the majority of them since third grade. They just came through the ranks. They just got hot down the stretch two years ago when we took third.

“This year we were the team to beat. It’s a credit to the hard work they put in. These kids just love baseball.”

He said the Valley League commissioner, who has years of experience in the sport, told him “I’ve never seen a team play this hard.”

Members of the team are Alex Bosso, Drayson Cuevas, Dylan Elder, Zach Gill, Colton Holly, Nate Melcher, Austin Mizsei, Trevor Olson, Wade Paulus, Justin Rice and Kory Vanduesen. Olson was assisted by coaches Tim Holly, Lonnie Keenon and Scott Melcher.

“Baseball isn’t a game where you win every game,” Olson said.

“In a few days we’ll be able to put these kids’ achievement in perspective.”