COVINGTON COUNTY, Ala. — The Columbia Basin River Dogs’ season came to an end Monday with a 3-0 loss against Gulf Coast, Ala.
Columbia Basin fell to 1-3 in pool play and narrowly missed clinching a spot in tournament play. Its starting pitcher gave up all three runs early on and was pulled in the second inning.
Producing quality offense was difficult for the River Dogs on Sunday, which was also a weakness for the Pacific Northwest regional winners all tournament long.
“We just didn’t hit the ball as well as we should and part of that is obviously you’re facing good pitching,” coach Randy Boruff said in a phone interview. “Most of the guys we saw here are all (throwing in the) high 80’s with sliders. … All the clubs had good pitching,”
But pitching and defense was a strength for Columbia Basin too. It gave up just eight runs in four games and lost contests 2-0 and 1-0 earlier in pool play.
Cashmere’s Mitch Darlington accounted for two of the team’s four hits and Ephrata’s Robert Lund had a double.
“We hit the ball better,” Boruff said. “(We) just couldn’t put them together.”
Columbia Basin finished 42-17 overall and proved it belonged in postseason play, Boruff said.
“We were not outmatched when it came to just athletes,” he said. “We belonged here.”
And there’s enough returning talent to believe the River Dogs could make a run next season.
Nobody on Boruff’s 2013 squad had competed in a Babe Ruth World Series, but it returns 12 players next year and will host the Babe Ruth World Series in the 2014 season.
Darlington and Cashmere’s Kyle Weiler are the only two starting position players not returning next summer and three of the team’s top six pitchers will be back as well.
While Boruff will look back on the 2013 campaign as a successful one, the future is looking even brighter.
“Anytime you get a chance to go to a World Series, that’s a feather in the program’s hat,” he said. “We have a young team; we’re building around that team.”
Washington Little League squad wins
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Jacob Dahlstrom drove in two runs on four singles and Sammamish, Wash., hung on for a 6-5 win over Urbandale, Iowa, in a Little League World Series elimination game Monday night.
Dylan Matsuoka’s two-run single in the third inning extended Sammamish’s lead to 4-1. The Northwest champions added two more in the sixth to build a 6-2 lead before avoiding a late scare to stay in contention in the U.S. division loser’s bracket.
Sammamish will face Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday. Urbandale made it close in its final at-bat. Brook Heinen had a two-out, two-run double and scored on a wild pitch. Reliever Will Armbruester then ended the game by striking out Grant Garwood.
Brady Roberts had two singles and scored once for Urbandale (1-2), which was eliminated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.