ATHENA — Pendleton Little Leaguer Tyler Newsome turned the gift-giving birthday custom on its head Monday when his team took on Baker in the District 3 all-star tournament in Athena. While normally the birthday boy could expect presents coming his way, Newsome dished out one big gift to his teammates.
Newsome, who turned 11 on Sunday when his team was originally scheduled to face Baker, delivered the game-winning hit as the 9/10-year-old Pendleton boys rallied to a 13-12 victory in seven innings.
Ty Beers led off the extra inning with a sharply hit ball to the shortstop with so much zip that the defender could only knock the projectile down in self defense. After a pair of wild pitches that book-ended a strikeout for the first out of the inning, Newsome stepped into the batter’s box with Beers gazing home from third base.
“(I was) really stretching for it,” Newsome said about the winning hit, his only one of the game.
To even get to extra innings of this game, which was delayed a day when lighting storms disrupted the tournament’s schedule on Saturday, Pendleton had to score twice in the bottom of the sixth inning. Baker had led 9-6 before Pendleton rebounded to take control 10-9, but again fell behind when Baker scored three times in the top of the sixth.
Baker had a chance to pull ahead in the seventh, as well. The team put a runner on third base with one out, but couldn’t move him up any further.
“The one thing that I was proudest about, it can be difficult when you’re playing in these games,” said Pendleton manager Dan Primus. “You have a lead, you give it up, get a lead, give it up. When it’s back and forth like that it’s tough to stay positive and motivated but the whole time this group of kids was ready to go. They wanted the game.”
Newsome produced the most memorable hit, but Cooper Roberts easily had the most for the Round-Up City boys. Roberts went 5 for 5 in the game, hitting two doubles and a triple.
Pendleton improved to 2-0 in pool play at the tournament and will play one more game against Wallowa at 9:30 a.m. in Athena. Then the top two teams from each pool will advance to the semifinals on Wednesday.
Contact AJ Mazzolini at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0839.