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Royals suffer 12-3 regional defeat

Play Kennewick, Wash., at 3:30 today

EAGLE POINT ­ The clock struck midnight for North Jackson and itsCinderella run through the winners bracket Sunday night.

Portland's Irwin-Hodson, the 1997 Oregon state champion, handed the Royals,the 1994-95-96 state champions, a convincing 12-3 defeat at the AmericanLegion A Northwest Regional Tournament at The Yard.

The Royals (33-13) meet Kennewick, Wash. today at 3:30 in losers bracketaction. Kennewick eliminated Burlington, Wash., earlier on Sunday.

The winner of the North Jackson, Kennewick winner advances to Tuesday'schampionship contest.

Irwin-Hodson pitcher Marshall Mills was the key figure for the ClevelandHigh School-area squad.

Mills scattered 10 Royals hits, while striking out 12 in his completegame effort.

He didn't overpower us at all, said North Jackson first basemanDan Shopp. He just got us to swing at his pitches.

Mills held the Royals hitless through three-plus innings until Don Jacksontouched him for a single in the fourth.

He was really hitting his spots well, said Shopp. Hewas making us hit all the pitches we didn't want to hit.

While Mills was keeping North Jackson's hitters in-check, his offensewas supplying him with plenty of support early in the game.

Irwin-Hodson attacked Royals starter Sean Skiscim for two runs in thefirst inning, one in the second and five in the third.

The Oregon representative was also aided by the host team's five errors.

If we made some errors they just capitalized on them, saidShopp. We just couldn't do the same thing.

Shopp was the first North Jackson hitter to dent Mills' armor, smackinga solo home run in the sixth inning. The Royals would add another run inthe sixth and one more in the seventh, but that was all Mills would allow.

Mike Newmann, Mike Holte and Jeremy Sitzer led the Royals with two twohits apiece.

Irwin-Hodson center fielder Gunther Delaney led his club with four hits,two RBIs and three runs scored. Scott Killen added two hits for Cleveland.

Kennewick is a team very familiar to North Jackson.

Already this season, the Dusters have beaten the Royals twice. A thoughtthat hasn't escaped the mind of Shopp.

Everybody will be pumped up because it's do-or-die, saidShopp. It's some of our guys last year and they don't want to loseon their home field. Nobody will be intimidated.

North Jackson Royals manager Tom Britton (19) meets with pitcher Sean Skiscim (left), first baseman Dan Shopp and catcher Mike Holte in the second inning. - Photo by Andy Atkinson</P