Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
KLAMATH FALLS — The window was open for the Phoenix High softball team to claim the Skyline Conference title outright when North Valley beat Henley in Grants Pass, but Phoenix failed to capitalize, falling 5-2 to Mazama in the first game of a high-stakes doubleheader Saturday.
After watching the league championship slip through their fingers with that Game 1 loss, the Pirates were desperate for a pick-me-up heading into their regular-season finale.
"I told the girls that we don't have any control over what's happening over there [in Grants Pass]," Phoenix head coach Jason Zanni said, "but if we want a home-field playoff game we need to win Game 2."
The Pirates came through in the nightcap, as Meranda Zanni tossed a complete game and went 3-for-4 with three runs, two RBIs and her ninth home run of the season, lifting Phoenix to an 8-5 victory and the No. 7 spot in the final OSAA Class 4A power rankings.
Phoenix (18-6, 9-3) and Henley (16-9, 9-3) finished tied for first place in the final Skyline standings, but the Hornets clinched an automatic berth into the 16-team state tournament by virtue of their 2-1 head-to-head advantage over Phoenix. The Pirates will host a play-in game Thursday.
"Honestly, we feel good," Jason Zanni said. "It would have been nice to take the title outright, but 9-3 in a tough conference — I think we feel pretty good about that. Now, the quest is to win five (postseason) games."
In Game 1, Baylee Toney's two-run single tied the game at 2-all after Mazama had taken a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The Vikings reclaimed the lead on Kaylee Grigsby's RBI single in the third, which proved to be the game-winner.
In Game 2, Meranda Zanni held Mazama (16-7, 8-4) to three earned runs on six hits while striking out five. Zanni went off at the plate as well. Among her three hits was an RBI double in the fourth, when the Pirates scored five runs to pull away.
Also for Phoenix, Delanie Tally was 2-for-4 with a triple, and Amanda Skaff added a two-run single in the fourth.
For Mazama, which placed third in the Skyline, Savannah Mallams was 2-for-4 with a run in Game 2 and added a triple in Game 1.
Phoenix 020 000 0 — 2 5 2
Mazama 201 020 x — 5 7 0
Zanni and Hamilton; Grigsby and D. Hamilton. W — Grigsby. L — Zanni (11-5). 2B — M: Wortman. 3B — M: Mallams.
Phoenix 000 520 1 — 8 6 3
Mazama 100 040 0 — 5 6 5
Zanni and Hamilton; Grigsby, Wortman (5) and D. Hamilton. W — Zanni (12-5). L — Grigsby. 2B — P: Zanni. 3B — P: D. Tally. HR — P: Zanni (9).
NORTH VALLEY 3-2, HENLEY 2-4 — At Merlin, Henley captured the Skyline title by virtue of its record against second-place Phoenix.
Both teams finished 9-3, but the Hornets owned the tiebreaker because they beat the Pirates two out of the three times.
In North Valley's first game against Henley, Kenzie Schmoll's solo home run gave the Knights (11-14, 4-8 Sky) a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Kady Kantola went 2-for-3 and Mikala Mohr tossed a four-hitter with three strikeouts and three walks for North Valley.
Taylor Hamilton hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh for Henley.
Kasey Werner, Lexi Pittman and Mohr all finished 2-for-3 for the Knights in the second contest.
Tara Moates was 2-for-3 with a run scored for Henley (16-9), which used a pair of unearned runs in the seventh to take the lead.
Henley 000 100 1 — 2 4 2
North Valley 000 111 x — 3 6 1
Scott and Herr; Mohr and Kite. W — Mohr (5-5). L — K. Scott. HR — H: Hamilton; NV: Schmoll.
Henley 001 010 2 — 4 6 1
North Valley 110 000 0 — 2 9 4
Scott and Herr; Allen and Kite. W — Scott. L — Allen. 2B — H: Moates; NV: Mohr.
Southern Oregon Hybrid
NORTH MEDFORD 12, EAGLE POINT 2, 5 inn. — North Medford's Alexis Barkwell tossed a three-hitter with nine strikeouts and three walks and the Black Tornado tallied 15 hits in nonleague action at North Medford High.
Maryssa Becker went 3-for-4 with a solo home run (her eighth of the year) and three RBIs and Maddie Gates 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored for the Black Tornado (23-1).
Barkwell was 3-for-3, Joci Ellis 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs and Katie Ramsay 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI against Class 5A Eagle Point (13-12).
North finished first in the OSAA 6A power rankings, ahead of Glencoe (23-1) and South Salem (23-2).
Eagle Point 000 20 — 2 3 3
North Medford 325 02 — 12 15 0
Merrill, Gonsalves (3) and Shopp; Barkwell and Williamson. W — Barkwell (10-0). L — Merrill. 2B — NM: Becker, Williams, Gates. HR — NM: Becker (8).
ROSEBURG 2-7, GRANTS PASS 1-2 — At Roseburg, Makinna Akers pitched a pair of four-hitters as Roseburg (18-5, 9-3 SOH) finished the league season in second place.
The Indians tallied a run in the bottom of the 10th to prevail in a duel between Akers and Amy Robinson of the Cavers (11-14, 6-6). Robinson fanned 10 and issued three walks, all intentional.
Grants Pass' Nicole Godwin had two hits and Danielle Taylor an RBI double.
In Game 2, Roseburg got a home run from Jacey Conklin and a double from Akers. The Indians scored four runs in the third.
Grants Pass 100 000 000 0 — 1 4 2
Roseburg 000 000 100 1 — 2 7 0
Robinson and Stevens; Akers and Conklin. W — Akers (16-5). L — Robinson (8-6). 2B — GP: Taylor, Godwin R: Hunt.
Grants Pass 000 000 2 — 2 4 3