Rowan Little League girls have off day but are plenty busy

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 15, 2015

Staff report

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Rowan Little League softball girls did not have a World Series game on Friday, but they were still plenty busy — and basking in the glow of Thursday’s 10-1 victory over Canada.

Imperial Brown, manufacturers of walk-in coolers and freezers, has a west coast factory in, that’s right, Portland. Ironically, the east coast factory, formerly W.A. Brown, is in Salisbury. The two companies merged in 2012.

Thrilled to have the girls from Salisbury in town, the Imperial Brown CEO presented the team and coaches with Nike gift cards and treated everyone to lunch. The team visited a Nike store in downtown Portland, not the company headquarters in nearby Beaverton. Apparently, the huge sporting goods company’s main campus is off limits to the Little Leaguers, due to amateur and eligibility concerns.

Head coach Steve Yang said by telephone interview last night that the team then made its way back to the Alpenrose Stadium complex, where it practiced for an hour and a half on the west auxiliary field. Yang added that afterwards, they checked out a few innings of their next opponent’s (Iowa) game. Iowa crushed Asia-Pacific, 12-0, behind a no-hitter from pitcher Mikayla Houge.

Asia-Pacific, a team from the Philippines, did not help themselves, committing six errors.

“Iowa is very similar to us,” said Yang. “They hit the ball well, have good pitching and defense. Unfortunately, the Philippines team that they played had a very bad game, so it was hard to really see Iowa at its best. But Iowa’s pitcher, obviously, is very good — consistent pitcher who throws it hard.”

Still, Yang is optimistic about Rowan’s chances to continue to win and advance out of pool play.

“I think you’ll see some closer games now that the U.S. teams are going to play each other,” said Yang, “but from what I’ve seen, there is not team that we are in awe of or anything. The teams we saw at the Southeast Regional, especially the Georgia Team, would compete well here as well.”

The team that Rowan defeated 2-0 in the regional final, Warner Robins, Ga., has a rich history, winning the World Series in 2009 and 2010.

Today’s game against Iowan starts at 1 p.m. eastern time, 10 a.m. in Portland. After Iowa, Rowan will play the Philippines on Sunday at 4 p.m. eastern time.

Looking back at Thursday’s 10-1 win over Canada, Yang said that pitcher Kali Morton and first baseman Kary Hales definitely had the big games, along with shortstop Allison Ennis.

Yang, a local dentist, said that his practice is being covered by two attending dentists.

“I couldn’t be doing this without their help,” said Yang, referring to the voluntary coaching job. “I’ve been out of the office for something like 15 business days this summer, but I tell myself all of the time that it’s a chance of a lifetime experience.”

Yang said that his entire family is there (daughter Ellen is the third baseman) and will be staying until Thursday.  The championship game and closing ceremonies are on Wednesday.

Yang said that some parents, unfortunately, do have to return early due to their jobs. Kaylin Dowling’s mother, Jan, is volleyball coach at West Rowan High School and needs to get back to her team. Hales’ mom, Nicole, also works in the Rowan Salisbury Schools and must return.

The daughters will still have support. The husbands of both Dowling and Hales are Yang’s assistant coaches — Rob Hales and Eric Dowling.