Sports Zone

Notebook: State playoffs provide plenty of late-game drama

EUGENE – The Thurston Colts weren’t the only program to win the state title in incredibly dramatic fashion, there were multiple incredible finishes last weekend. The Sheldon Irish softball team might have had the most dramatic win, claiming the Class 6A softball title on Saturday on an obstruction call, and ending the game without any hits.

Sheldon and Oregon City were tied at 0-0 with Sheldon up to bat in the bottom of the 7th inning when junior Brooke Peterson got hit by a pitch. Sheldon senior Meara Sain then bunted and reached first base on an errant throw. Peterson decided to keep rounding third base, where she and OC pitcher Lily Riley, who was covering third after the third baseman ran to grab the bunt, collided. Peterson still ran toward home and was easily thrown out, but was declared safe due to the obstruction call, giving Sheldon the 1-0 walk-off win. Watch the crazy ending here: https://tinyurl.com/44a3kdp9

Burns/Crane repeats with historic performance

While the two Saturday games got most of the attention, Friday’s game between Burns/Crane and Scio had drama of its own. The Class 3A softball championship game went to 12 innings, with Burns winning 1-0 to secure its second-consecutive title and 58th game in a row.

Burns junior pitcher Ayla Davies pitched all 12 innings and recorded 23 strikeouts, breaking the state championship game record of 21 strikeouts, set by Tigard’s Makenna Reid in last year’s 10-inning win over Oregon City in the 6A final. Davies finished the season with 389 strikeouts, No. 4 on the state’s all-time list.

Dallas rallies for Class 5A softball title

The Dallas Dragons came back from a 4-0 deficit late and won 6-5 in extra innings over Lebanon with a walk-off of their own. After trailing 4-0, Dallas scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 5th inning to take the lead. Lebanon bounced back though and tied it in the top of the 6th, with the game ultimately going to extra innings. In the bottom of the 8th inning, Dallas junior Jordan Cresswell led off with a single to right-center, and ended up making it to third base later in the inning.  Junior Clara Woolsey then hit a ground ball that Lebanon was unable to field cleanly, allowing Cresswell to score the winning run.

Near “triple crown” for two schools

Two schools came very close to winning what is often referred to as the “triple crown” in high school sports: winning the state championship in football, basketball, and baseball. The West Linn Lions of Class 6A won the title in football and baseball this season, but were upset by Tualatin in the boys basketball championship.

While West Linn’s triple crown hopes were dashed in March, down in Class 3A, Cascade Christian had its triple crown hopes alive for the whole season. The Challengers took down Kennedy in football, then dominated Westside Christian in the boys basketball final, and came into the state baseball tournament as the top seed. Waiting for Cascade Christian in the finals of baseball was Banks, who just so happened to be the last school to complete the triple crown when they did it in the 2018-’19 season. Banks beat Cascade Christian 3-0 in the championship game, grabbing its first baseball title since 2019 and making sure its triple crown streak continued.

Class 5A fans pack PK Park

While the Oregon Schools Activites Association (OSAA) doesn’t officially post any attendance numbers, educated guesses can be made about the number of fans there. The University of Oregon’s PK Park has 2,040 standard seats, which were the only seats in use for the state championship game. If the stands at the Thurston versus West Albany game were 75% full, which is what it roughly looked like from the field, then about 1500 fans packed the diamond for the Class 5A state championship game. Given that Thurston’s fanbase had a much shorter travel time, the majority of those fans were rooting for the Colts, something head coach Dennis Minium noticed.

“I’m impressed with our turnout today in the stands. That was awesome. They helped us. They helped us in some tough moments of the game,” Minium said. “They were loud. They were there for us all year, and to see that crowd turnout today, it was incredible.”

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