Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
CORVALLIS — Cascade Christian freshman Nicole Morse won two three-set matches Friday to advance into today's girls singles semifinals of the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state tennis tournament at the Oregon State tennis complex.
The unseeded Morse defeated Rachel Primack of LaSalle, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0, in the second round, then triumphed over Riley Hanks of Ridgeview in the quarterfinals, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.
The Challenger freshman faced contrasting styles in each match.
"Her serve was a big thing in both matches," said Cascade Christian assistant coach Scott Morse. "She did what she had to do to win. She needed to use two different styles and played smart."
Primack played primarily defensively, while Hanks hit the ball with more pace.
After dropping the initial set to Primack, Morse picked up her game.
"She kept the ball in the court and attacked anytime she had an opportunity," said Scott Morse about his sister's first match. "She was able to put balls away."
In the quarterfinals, Hanks' style suited Nicole Morse just fine according to Scott Morse.
"Nicole attacked hard from the baseline and limited her errors," said coach Morse. "She did a good job moving the other girl around side-to-side. She has a big first serve and got a lot of points out of that."
Nicole Morse faces top-seeded and defending state champion Lara Rakocevic of Catlin Gabel in the semifinals. Rakocevic didn't lose a game in posting two victories.
CLASS 5A — At Portland, Ashland's Hanna Greenberg and Vika O'Brien are one win away from a doubles three-peat after two more lopsided victories in the Class 5A state girls tennis tournament at Portland Tennis Center.
Winners of the last two 5A doubles titles, Greenberg and O'Brien did not lose a game in a pair of straight-set victories in the quarterfinals and semifinals Friday, earning a spot in today's state championship match. The top-seeded duo started the day with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Morgan Whaley and Alli Schmidt of Silverton, then trounced the No. 4-seeded team of Emily Hollander and Madison Penn of Marist by the same score.
Greenberg and O'Brien will face the No. 2 seeds, Kelsey Collis and Morgan DeMeyer, of Summit, in today's championship match, set for 10:45 a.m. at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center.
Ashland junior Ashley Knecht, the No. 3 seed, lost in the singles semifinals and will play fourth-seeded Maddy Samkutty of Wilson in the third-place match today. Knecht beat Lindsey Brodeck of Summit in the quarterfinals, 6-1, 6-3, then lost to top-seeded Madisyn Bryant of Marist in the semis, 6-0, 6-0.
Also for the Ashland girls, River Davis picked up a pair of consolation victories to advance to the consolation finals.
In the team race, Ashland is in first heading into today's action, one point ahead of both Marist and Summit. The Grizzlies are going for their second team title in a row and third overall.
In the 5A boys tournament, Ashland's Grant Kahn was eliminated by fourth-seeded Carter Quigley of Summit in the quarterfinals, 6-0, 6-2. In consolation play, Ashland's Mischa Kirby picked up one victory before suffering an 8-6 loss to Sam Larson of Corvallis.
EAGLE POINT 5, NORTH EUGENE 1 — At Eagle Point, Megan Ayers went 3-for-3 and drove in two runs for Eagle Point which had everything working in its favor as it advanced to the Class 5A state playoffs by derailing North Eugene in a play-in game.
The Eagles (14-11) will travel to take on second-ranked Hood River Valley in the opening round on Wednesday.
Ayers capped a three-run first inning with an RBI double and put the Eagles up 5-0 with a run-scoring single in the third. She had two doubles in the contest while Emily Jeffries finished 2-for-3 for the Eagles, who rapped out nine hits.
Eagle Point pitcher Teanna Gonsalves allowed just one earned run on four hits and one walk. Gonsalves did a good job inducing Highlander batters into groundouts and she struck out six to improve to 9-8 on the season.
Gonsalves, the Eagles' top hitter, did not have a hit but plated Jeffries in the first inning with a sacrifice fly, then Eagle Point's lead extended to 2-0 when North Eugene right fielder Jessie Lindland caught the fly ball and made a throw to home plate that fell short of the catcher and bounced out of play, allowing the Eagles' Paige Leeper to score.
The Eagles' Kimberly Hoag added an RBI triple in the third inning and later scored on Ayers' single.
Hoag also helped anchor the Eagles' superb defensive display. With runners on first and second base in the first inning, the third baseman Hoag snagged a hard-hit ground ball and turned it into a double play. Gonsalves struck out the following batter to get the Eagles out of the jam.
Leeper also made a highlight on defense with a diving infield stop and hustled to second base to get a force out in the sixth inning.
North Eugene 000 100 0 — 1 4 2
Eagle Point 302 000 x — 5 9 1
Sorenson and Humbert; Gonsalves and Shopp. W — Gonsalves (9-8). L — Sorenson. 2B — EP: Ayers 2, Leeper. 3B — EP: Hoag.
PROSPECT 6, GOLD BEACH — Prospect-Butte Falls' Alee Pinkerton pitched a four-hit shutout while Shawna Creech and Randyn Thomason both had a home run to power the Cougars past Gold Beach in a Special District 4 contest for second place and a Class 2A/1A state playoff berth at U.S. Cellular Park.
With their opponent still to be determined, the Cougars (21-2) will be visitors in the opening round on Wednesday.
Marissa Raines got the Cougars going with a two-run double in the first inning. She, Creech and Hannah Bailey all had a pair of hits.
Pinkerton did not issue a walk and fanned four to bump her pitching record up to 21-2.
Gold Beach 000 000 0 — 0 4 2
Prospect-Butte Falls 200 013 x — 6 8 0
Rucker and Piper; Pinkerton and Hedgepeth. W — Pinkerton (21-2). L — Rucker. 2B — PBF: Bailey, Raines. HR — PBF: Creech, Thomason.