History of Hazel Dell Little League
Hazel Dell Little League originally started in the early 1950’s on 78th Street near Interstate 5.
In the early 1960’s, the field was moved to 94th Street and 21st Ave. American and National League games were played on the fields on the north side of 94th Street, with Pac Coast and T-Ball being played on the site of Lake Shore Elementary School. The Senior League was played in the far corner of Lake Shore School next to Lake Shore Athletic Club. The League was notified in the late 70’s that the School District was going to build a new school on the site and the Leaguewould lose the baseball property.
Hazel Dell Little League approached H B Fuller about the availablity of their poperty for the use of a sport’s park. H B Fuller was open to the idea of making a park for children as long as the park was maintained by the Little League, Soccer Program, and the Parks Department.
The land was leased in 1990 and in 1991, HDLL built the Junior and Senior Field. It took eight years to obtain the Mariner’s Grant which allowed HDLL to build the American and National Fields. These fields were completed in 1998. HDLL built the Kiggins Clubhouse in 2004-2005. Throughgenerous donations of time by League parents and members of the community, HDLL wasfortunate to have the clubhouse built with the only expense being for the materials used in the project.
2000 Little League World Series Trip
Hazel Dell 10 Mill Creek 2
Hazel Dell 8 Ewa, Hawaii 0
Hazel Dell 8 Medford, Oregon 2
Hazel Dell 14 Billings, Montana 0
Hazel Dell 6 Billings, Montana 0
Hazel Dell 3 Ocean View, California 2
Hazel Dell 5 Bellaire, Texas 0
Hazel Dell 6 Goffstown, New Hampshire 4
Davenport Iowa 6 Hazel Dell 4
After losing the first state championship game 2 -0, Hazel Dell came back to beat Mill Creek 10 – 2 in the second championship game in front of a crowd of 800-plus. The victory was highlighted by a Jay Ponciano three-run home run in the third inning. Ponciano went 3 for 3 in the game and had four RBI. Greg Peavey earned the victory by striking out eight and giving up only two hits. Dustin Corl added a three run double. With the victory, the Hazel Dell 11-12 All-Stars advanced to the Little League Western Regional Tournament in San Bernardino, CA. Under ordinary circumstances, a perfect game means that no batter reaches base. But in the high-stakes atmosphere of the Western Region tournament championship game, extraordinary circumstances called for a new definition. Pitchers Greg Peavey and Jay Ponciano were perfect through five innings — by their definition — and used a game-ending double play to stymie a sixth inning rally as their Hazel Dell (Washington) Little League club upset powerful Ocean View (Huntington Beach, Southern California) 3-2 at Al Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino. With the combined no-hitter, Hazel Dell became the first Washington league to advance to the Little League World Series since the legendary Kirkland National all-star team in 1982. Washington manager Tom Peavey had a clear strategy in the Western Region title game: do not let Hank Conger beat you. Conger, Ocean View’s top hitter and pitcher, came into the game hitting .636 (7 for 11) at the region tournament, with four home runs that including a 300′ moon shot believed to be the longest ever hit at Al Houghton Stadium. Hazel Dell’s idea of perfection involved pitching around Conger and containing the other Ocean View hitters. Greg Peavey and Ponciano executed the plan flawlessly. Peavey pitched three hitless innings before departing due to a sore arm, and Ponciano followed suit with three hitless innings of his own. Through five innings, Conger was the only baserunner Ocean View managed, as the Hazel Dell hurlers never threw him a pitch in the strike zone. While Peavey and Ponciano stymied Ocean View, Hazel Dell’s offense scratched for three runs. After Ocean View starter Chris Palmer retired the first two batters in the third inning, Ponciano was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a passed ball, and scored when Jackson Evans sliced a single to right field. Two innings later, after Conger had relieved Palmer, Jesse Boehm walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch. In the sixth, Josh Hash was hit by a pitch and came around on a passed ball, a sacrifice, and another wild pitch. Despite the widening lead, Hazel Dell needed a superb defensive finish to withstand Ocean View’s last inning rally. A hit batter and a pair of walks — one to Conger when first base wasn’t open — loaded the bases with nobody out. After a strikeout, Ponciano uncorked a wild pitch that cut Washington’s lead to 3-1. Then Peavey, who had been so effective in starting the game, started a game-ending double play. Palmer hit a bouncer to shortstop. Conger scored as Peavey looked the runner back to second and threw to first baseman Korey Dunkel to retire the batter. As Peavey threw to first, the runner on second broke for third. Dunkel fired a strike to third baseman Jeremy Dunham, who tagged out the runner to complete the tournament-winning 6-3-5 double play. Ocean View’s two title game runs represented half of the offense allowed by Hazel Dell pitchers at the Western Region tournament. Peavey fired a two-hitter in the opening round as the Portland area team defeated Ewa (Hawaii) 8-0. Hazel Dell took advantage of five wild pitches and a passed ball to score seven times in the first two innings. Evans and Ponciano both scored twice, and were a combined five for seven at the plate, while Peavey set the tone defensively with thirteen strikeouts. Peavey was even more effective in his next outing. After Ponciano’s three-hitter helped to beat Medford American (Oregon) 8-2 — both Oregon runs were unearned — Peavey threw a four inning perfect game as Hazel Dell overwhelmed Boulder Arrowhead (Billings, Montana) 14-0. Peavey struck out eight and induced four groundouts, while Ponciano provided the offensive support with a pair of homers and five RBIs. The win sent Hazel Dell to the championship game of their bracket, where they would again face Boulder Arrowhead. Hazel Dell manager Tom Peavey then gambled — and won. Hazel Dell needed only one win to advance to the region championship game against the winner of the other bracket, while Boulder Arrowhead would need a pair of wins due to the bracket’s double-elimination format. Rather than deploying Ponciano in the Montana rematch, Tom Peavey penciled in Dunham as his starting pitcher, in the hopes that he would have both Greg Peavey and Ponciano available for the title game. Dunham made his manager’s gamble pay off with a four-hit shutout as Hazel Dell defeated Boulder Arrowhead 4-0 to gain the championship game. Ponciano chipped in with a two-run homer, and Alex Gordon added an RBI single for the winners. Hazel Dell’s win over Ocean View earned the Washington champions a trip to the Little League World Series.
The first game of the World Series, Hazel Dell had a 5 – 0 victory over Bellaire, Texas. This game was a pitching gem by Jay Ponciano. He did not walk a batter in throwing a complete game shut out. Dustin Corl started the offense with a two-run home run in the third inning. Hazel Dell added three more runs in the fifth inning. Game two was a 6 – 4 win over Goffstown Little League of New Hampshire. This comeback victory was a team effort all the way. Dustin Corl pitched his first game of the all-star season. Trailing much of the game, Hazel Dell started its comeback with a three run home run by Jay Ponciano in the fifth inning. Down to their last out, Hazel Dell scored to tie the game 4 – 4 in the sixth. In the top of the seventh inning, Jeremy Dunham pitched a perfect inning. In the bottom of the inning, Dustin Corl hit a 233 foot home run scoring Jackson Evans and himself for the winning runs.
The Western Region champions were in a unique position entering their final pool game against Davenport East (Iowa). A loss would put Hazel Dell in a three-way tie with Davenport and Bellaire (Texas). Under tiebreaking rules used in Little League pool competition, if Hazel Dell lost to Davenport while scoring two runs or less, they would advance to the semifinals. However, if they lost and scored more than two runs, they would be eliminated. Iowa rallied from an early deficit to take a 4-2 lead after three innings, leaving Tom Peavey with a decision. If Hazel Dell wanted to advance, they could lay down their bats, and, by virtue of not scoring any more runs, move into the semifinals. (Davenport would advance on the first tiebreaker — fewest runs allowed per defensive inning played — while Hazel Dell would earn the second semifinal berth based on their head-to-head victory over Bellaire.) However, if Hazel Dell scored again, Bellaire’s runs-per-defensive inning ratio would be better than Davenport’s, and the only way Hazel Dell could advance ahead of the Iowans would be by beating them. Tom Peavey’s team didn’t quit. Josh Hash roped a two-run single in the fourth that tied the game and made victory a necessary element for Hazel Dell, but Davenport countered with two in the fifth to eliminate the Western champions from the World Series. Little League President Steven Keener observed that “I don’t think there has ever been a Little League manager in the history of the World Series who has more clearly demonstrated the ideals of Little League Baseball than Tom Peavey. He had his team doing its best trying to win . . . (Hazel Dell) could have taken the low road, and they took the high road instead.” The team that re-wrote the definition of a perfect game ended their season with a victory, regardless of the result on the field.
Information courtesy of The Columbian, Oregonian and Unpage