Cubs win Little League championship over Athletics

By Ryan Sparks, Curry Coastal Pilot June 17, 2014 08:29 pm

Members of the 2014 Brookings-Harbor Little League All-Star team will head to Grants Pass this Saturday to compete in the district tournament.

The Chetco Shrine Club Cubs pitchers Manny Zamora and Dodger Francisco combined to allow just one run on three hits, and the Cubs offense scored five runs in a second inning outburst to claim the Major Division championship of the Brookings-Harbor Little League, 5-1, over the Brookings Masons A’s at Bud Cross Park on Saturday afternoon.

The A’s jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when shortstop Conner Christensen singled and later scored on a Zamora error off the bat of first baseman Jason Vanginderen.

Zamora was able to battle back and get out of the inning without any further damage.

The Cubs offense then exploded for five runs in the bottom of the second inning off A’s pitcher Bryce Testa. Seven of the first eight Cubs reached base as they tallied five hits and batted around the lineup in the inning.

That was all the offense Zamora would need, as he settled in to stymie the A’s over the next three innings, allowing just one run on two hits and six strikeouts in his four innings of work.

“My teammates just told me to calm down and throw it to the mitt,” said Zamora, explaining how he was able to shake off the first inning and settle into the game. “They told me to just play baseball.”

A’s pitching settled in as well, as they didn’t allow another run the remainder of the game, but the A’s offense weren’t able to scratch across runs against Cubs pitching, though they had opportunities.

Twice the A’s were able to load the bases with one out and bring the tying run to the plate in the later innings, but each time they were thwarted by Cubs relief pitcher Dodger Francisco.

Francisco was able to overcome four walks in his two innings of work by striking out the side in both the fifth and sixth innings, dashing any comeback hopes the A’s had and sealing the championship for the Cubs.

“I felt a little bit nervous so I just tried to focus on throwing strikes,” Francisco admitted after the game.

Both Zamora and Francisco commented that they are happy about the win and are going to enjoy it. They have just a short time to savor the victory, however, as they will be competing for the Brookings-Harbor Little League in the upcoming All-Star District Tournament.

All-Stars selected

As well as Zamora and Francisco, several other Little Leaguers were selected to represent Brookings-Harbor Little League in the upcoming district tournament 3 p.m. this Saturday at Morrison Park in Grants Pass.

The following players were selected to the All-Star team: Peyton Armentrout (Gold Beach), Derek Bonde, Andrew Burger, Connor Christensen, Chris Cooke, Dodger Francisco, Jeremiah Green, Ethan Hall, Jacub McCollum, Bryce Testa, Jason Vanginderen and Manny Zamora. The team will be managed by A’s head coach and league president Jason Testa and he will be assisted by coaches Bruce Brouillard and Mark McCollum.

Scoreboard highlights field upgrades

Jason Testa made it his mission when he became Little League president to do whatever he could to renovate and upgrade the ball fields at Bud Cross Park. Testa, along with the help of many volunteers and local businesses, has helped facilitate a transformation that has seen the fields rival some of the finest Little League fields along the Southern Oreogon Coast.

“We built these fields with a lot of help from volunteers and sponsors,” said Testa regarding the work the community has done to turn the fields from an eyesore to a jewel. “Tony Baron (Brookings Parks and Recreation Commissioner) and our city has been a huge help with planning and cooperation in aiding the local league with these improvements.”

The renovations started two years ago with tilling the field, planting new grass and installing new sprinkler systems. All of this done with the help of field managers Johnnie James and Shawn Dietrich as well as local farmer Richard Yock.

From there, score boxes and field equipment were built by local contractors, all with donated materials and volunteer labor from the likes of Dennis Tippets and John Ensley. Tidewater Contractors Incorporated poured concrete, Edwards Roofing donated materials and labor and South Coast Lumber/Pacific Wood Laminates donated siding.

The upgrades kept snowballing as more and more volunteers and businesses wanted to help.

A storage area and equipment shed were added to the snack shack, batting cages were added, and a ramp for persons with disabilities was added so anyone and everyone could enjoy the fields.

Tidewater donated concrete that was used around the score boxes and under the bleachers as well as new backstops being added and dugouts reconfigured.

This year, bullpens were built by Eagle Scouts with fencing donated by Hastings Beef and B&B Excavation. Bat racks were donated by Freeman Marine of Gold Beach. 

The league received a grant from the West Foundation which was used to buy new bats, helmets, catchers’ gear and other player essentials.

Finally, the piece de resistance, the cherry on top of the sundae: a new, high tech scoreboard was erected just one day before the championship game with the help of Coos Curry Electric (which provided the poles) and Wild River Pizza and Rogue Valley Credit Union which donated funds. 

All these improvements mean the youth and the local community have Little League fields they can be proud of and ones that children will enjoy playing on for years to come. 

Though Testa has decided to step down as league president after the All-Star tournament is completed, his dedication to improving the league and the fields they play on will be remembered for generations to come. Testa played a huge role in making the community proud of their baseball fields once again, as did the community itself.

“We had a lot of improvements done to the fields and I just want to thank all the volunteers and sponsors that helped us along the way,” he said.