Junior League Baseball
WHAT: Western Regional, Propstra Stadium, Vancouver
Tuesday’s semifinals: Manhattan Beach, Calif., vs. Naches, Wash., 3 p.m.; Murrayhill (Beaverton) vs. Maui, Hawaii, 6 p.m.
Wednesday’s games: Third place, 3 p.m.; Championship, 6 p.m.
TICKETS: $4 (good for both games).
The task was clear for the Columbia Little League all-stars on Monday.
Beat Idaho champion North Boise and allow fewer than 11 runs, and the host team would have a place in the semifinals of the Junior League Baseball Western Regional.
That task, however, never figured to be easy against a hot-hitting Idaho team that had scored 29 runs over its two previous games in the tournament for ages 13-14.
North Boise beat Columbia 13-3, ending it with a six-run fifth inning at Propstra Stadium. The result secured a semifinal spot for Murrayhill of Beaverton. The Oregon champs finished 3-1 in pool play, second behind unbeaten Southern Cal in Pool 1.
Columbia and North Boise each finished with two wins and two losses.
Riley Ellison led off the game with a bloop double after fouling off four two-strike pitches from Idaho stater Drake Heubach. He scored an unearned run.
Columbia's Jacob Oliverez hit a two-out single to tie the score at 3-3 in the top of the third inning.
But North Boise started the bottom of the third with two doubles and put four runs on the board to lead 7-3.
In the fifth inning, Columbia put its first two hitters on base and chased Heubach. But Evan Escobar took over and silenced the hosts with three outs.
In the bottom of the fifth, North Boise sent 10 batters to the plate.
Sometimes, the game of baseball is easier for teams with nothing to lose.
That appeared to be the case on Monday night as North Boise played aggressively while Columbia struggled to get comfortable at the plate and in the field.
Earlier Monday, Southern California champion Manhattan Beach completed its perfect run through pool play with a 15-5 win over Carson City, Nevada.