Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
TALENT — Phoenix pitcher Meranda Zanni was so dominant in a Class 4A softball play-in game against Brookings-Harbor on Thursday, her teammates were getting bored.
"At one point," Phoenix head coach Jason Zanni said, "they're like, 'Are you going to let us play defense?'"
Not much. Meranda Zanni struck out 12 batters without a walk and surrendered only two hits to lead the Pirates to a 6-1 win over the Bruins at Hagler-James Field.
The victory, Phoenix's fifth in its last six games, advances the Pirates to the 16-team state tournament, which begins with first-round action Wednesday.
Phoenix took a 1-0 lead on Amanda Skaff's RBI single in the first inning, then added two insurance runs in the third when Skaff drove in another run, stole two bases then scored on a hit by Makayla Scoggins.
With Zanni cruising, the Pirates put the game out of reach by scoring three more runs in the sixth, highlighted by Ashlyn Flynn's triple and Hailey Wyncoop's perfectly-placed squeeze bunt, which plated Flynn. Phoenix, which was tied with Henley atop the final Skyline Conference standings, ran the bases well all day, going 5-for-5 on steal attempts.
Brookings-Harbor (13-11), which placed third in the Far West League, finally got on the board in the seventh when Kayla Webre belted an RBI triple to avoid the shutout.
That was about the only mistake all day for Meranda Zanni, who improved to 13-5.
Brookings-Harbor 000 000 1 — 1 2 1
Phoenix 102 003 x — 6 9 0
Goergen and Marrington; Zanni and Hamilton. W — Zanni (13-5). L — Goergen. 3B — B: Webre; P: Flynn.
CENTRAL 4, MAZAMA 3, 9 inn. — At Independence, host Central (14-12) pushed across the winning run in extra innings to oust Mazama from playoff contention in the Class 4A play-in game.
The Vikings, who finished third in the Skyline Conference, capped their season with a 16-8 record.
ROGUE RIVER 15-11, BONANZA 1-0 — At Bonanza, Rogue River's Lacey Swangel went 4-for-4 with three runs and five RBIs in the opener and Kaelin Honea was 4-for-4 with four runs and three RBIs in the nightcap of the nonleague sweep.
Carolanne Whittaker picked up both pitching victories for the Chieftains (16-5), who open the Class 3A state playoffs at home on Wednesday.
Sara Perkins combined to go 4-for-7 with three runs and three RBIs, while Laura Potter was 3-for-4 with two RBIs in Game 2.
Rogue River 111 75 — 15 12 3
Bonanza 100 00 — 1 4 6
Whittaker and Sara Perkins; Ariana McGee and Bailey Dula. W — Carolanne Whittaker (14-5). L — McGee. 2B — RR: Swangel 3, Perkins, Holmes; B: Varyan.
Rogue River 311 114 — 11 13 1
Bonanza 000 000 — 0 3 5
Whittaker and Perkins; McGee and Dula. W — Whittaker (15-5). L — McGee. 2B — RR: Honea, Pratt, Swangel, Perkins, Potter 2, Holmes 1; B: Mojua.
HIDDEN VALLEY 13, BANKS 4 — At Murphy, Tyler Gulbransen hit two- and three-run home runs for Hidden Valley, which used four homers to take down Banks in a Class 4A state play-in game.
The Mustangs' Joe Wardle hit a solo home run during a 3-for-3 effort and scored four times, with Kody Garrison adding a solo shot.
Gulbransen also went the distance on the mound, allowing four runs — one earned — on seven hits and three walks. He had six strikeouts.
The Mustangs improved to 17-7.
Banks 013 000 0 — 4 7 1
Hidden Valley 191 020 x — 13 12 2
King, Olson (2) and Grayson; Gulbransen and Garrison. W — Gulbransen. L — King. 2B — HV: Fretz, Campbell. 3B — B: King. HR — HV: Gulbransen 2, Garrison, Wardle.
NORTH BEND 2, NORTH VALLEY 1 — At Bend, Stephen Parker gave North Valley a brief lead before North Bend claimed the Class 4A state play-in contest to end the Knights' season.
Parker singled home Marco Garmendia in the top of the fourth inning for 1-0 lead, but the Bulldogs (17-8) responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame.
Parker was pinned with the loss, going six innings without surrendering an earned run. He yielded just three hits and two walks, and added three strikeouts.
Josh Cowell went 3-for-3 for the Knights (15-12).
North Valley 000 100 0 — 1 6 2
North Bend 000 200 x — 2 3 2
Parker and Dupont; Gruchaze and Durree. W — Gruchaze. L — Parker. 2B — NV: Cowell, Dupont.