11-25 SPORTS Gorge Thunder 18u.jpg

Gorge Thunder Softball members: back row, left to right: Bella Moore, Hood River Valley High School; Natalie Davis, Dallas; Macee Barnes, Columbia High School; Alivia Benavidez, Salem; Sienna Davis, HRVHS; Abby Kahler, HRVHS; Sydney Aman, Columbia; Kyra Davis, HRVHS; front row, from left: Molly Routson, HRVHS; I’sis Solorzano, HRVHS; Ella Smith, The Dalles High School; Ella Reed, Columbia; Maggie Bryan, Columbia. Not pictured: Reese Leiblein, HRVHS; Marina Castaneda, HRVHS. 

Gorge Thunder 18U softball team traveled to Scottsdale, Ariz., for the Triple Crown Fall Showcase tournament Nov. 5, going 4-1 on the weekend and winding up a successful — and eventful — fall softball season, according to coach Jesse Bryan.

At Triple Crown, the Thunder dominated the pool with a run differential of plus-23. They defeated Batbusters 12-3; Firecrackers 5-2; lost to Athletics SoCal 10-6; then defeated E1 Prospects SoCal 10-3 and Texas Boom Elite 8-2.

“We have an amazing group of athletes for a ‘small town’ team,” Bryan said. “With all the lockdowns all summer, we ended up building a field and hosting tons of games all summer. We actually had the police show up to practices when we attempted to use local fields. It was a struggle to keep the kids playing this summer and fall with all the restrictions. But with a lot of outside complaints, and tons of parent support, we were able to get close to a full season in.”

The Thunder program is comprised of five teams: 10 and Under, 12U, 14U, 16U and 18U. Bryan said the roster is “90 percent local girls but we have pulled several from Salem, Dallas, Prineville and Portland.

“We have been trying to make sure all the locals have a spot first and then fill in from there,” Byran said. 

“We have great people in place helping coach which makes it a great opportunity for kids to improve and be competitive.”

Bryan added that, “Hopefully when we start back up in the spring we can stay in touch on tournament scores and updates.” 

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