By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– The boys of the Cascade Little League Intermediate 50/70 team entered their home finale versus Mid Valley with the hopes to give their home crowd one last show.
For Head Coach Chris Brown, he took a different approach to Thursday’s game by starting his bench players over his usual starters as a way to honor his athletes.
“It’s really important because you want to keep their confidence up, you don’t always want the kids to sit and never play, always going to be at one or two-spots and never get a lot of playing time because they’re never going to come back. You have to make it fun for them and get them playing time.”
As for his usual starters, Brown said that they took it in stride because his starters want to see their teammates having as much fun as they do.
“They get it, they understand it. They played most of the innings and they want to give their teammates more playing time and make it just as fun for them, when they go out there and not playing their starting roles, they play just as hard. They take it really well, they take it in stride.”
Minutes before the game, Courtland Smith, got the nod for his team and after a slow start, settled in for a 15-pitch first inning en route to two good innings on the mound.
It took some time, but the bats of the CLL 50/70 team came to life that featured a three-run homerun by Gavin Bond for his fourth homerun of the season.
Up six though, Mid Valley rallied to cut that lead down to one.
Though tattered from the weather elements of rain, wind and sun on top of their competition, Cascade pulled it together in the bottom of the fifth inning to enforce the run-limit, giving Cascade their victory lap in front of their home crowd.
“It feels pretty good,” said Shawn Kunzie on the win. “Our whole team really good today and it was a team effort. We played pretty good, it was a good game by the whole team.”
For Brown, he couldn’t take all the credit in the world for his team’s success in 2016 because he knew that this team’s success wouldn’t have been without the help of Jason Rife and Loren Magnesson.
“It’s very important,” said Brown about his assistant coaches. “Because you can’t do it on your own. You have to have them helping. Whether hitting, throwing or in the outfield, it’s just impossible to do it on your own.
Rife was a catcher in high school and brings in knowledge with attitude and structure. Magnesson brings in knowledge from his days at BYU with pitching and a few different things said Brown.
With Brown floating around with the American Legion team he’s also helping out with, he’s thankful with how his assistant coaches have stepped up and helped out the kids when he isn’t there.
With one more game left on their schedule, Kunzie, Smith, Bond and company will be ready for the task at hand.
“We’ll get ready for that game and we’ll go out and hopefully beat them,” said Kunzie.
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PHOTO GALLERY (PICTURES BY JEREMY MCDONALD)