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Playoff contest is all in the family

Prep Notebook

Sara Barry and the Oregon City Pioneers know the routine well when they play North Medford's softball team.

They get on the bus, ride six hours, go to Fagone Field, take batting practice, take infield and then watch the Black Tornado put on a hitting clinic.

The Pioneers traveled south last spring for a doubleheader and then again this past March.

They 10-runned us this spring, and last year they 10-runned us in the first game, Barry says. Then we played them pretty close in the second game.

There won't be a second game today when Oregon City, the No. 4 team out of the Three Rivers League, plays the two-time defending state champion Tornado in a 4:30 p.m. Class 4A playoff contest.

It's always a homecoming of sorts for Barry, a three-year starter for North before graduating in 1991. She says she's gotten used to being in the opposite dugout from her father, North assistant coach Rod Rumrey.

But this is definitely a crossroads in her career. It will either be Barry's final outing with Oregon City, or it will be the Pioneers' biggest win since 1987, when they reached the state semifinals.

Barry and husband Brent have been hired to teach and coach at North next fall, making it a family affair.

She will teach social studies, assist North volleyball coach Ron Beick and work with North head softball coach Larry Binney, who recently reversed his decision to step down at the end of this season. Brent Barry, a South Medford graduate, will teach math and serve as Rumrey's offensive coordinator in football.

Coaches often lead nomadic lives. At 25, Sara Barry is well-traveled. After graduating from George Fox University, she has headed up softball programs at LaPine, Crook County and Oregon City.

When Rod Rumrey moved here from Sweet Home in 1988, it was somewhat traumatic for Sara, who was entering her sophomore year.

The first year was really tough, Barry recalls. My junior and senior year, I made the adjustment pretty well. It was definitely the right move, it just took a little while to get used to the big town of Medford, coming from the little town of Sweet Home.

Unlike 11 years ago, it's more like we're coming home instead of going to this strange place.

Growing up in a coach's house, Barry developed an early desire to follow in her father's steps.

I just love sports and I wanted to teach, she says. I couldn't imagine teaching without coaching.

I'd like to say that I was (observing strategy), but I was focused on the day-to-day things, winning league titles and going on to college.

Once I got to college, I realized I'd better pay attention to what was going on.

During her college days, she coached one of Binney's Tornado Tuff Amateur Softball Association U-14 teams. North seniors Erin Glantz, Stephanie Adams and Megumi Hackett dotted the roster.

At each of her coaching stops, Barry has invited Binney's staff to put on clinics for her kids.

I realized the best coaching I was going to get was what I got at North Medford, she says. I try to soak up as much as I can whenever Larry's speaking.

The ASA program has regularly produced freshmen good enough to earn first-team all-state honors. A roster of fleet players in perpetual motion creates continual headaches for opponents.

We're not known for our speed, so there's no way we can do things that Larry does -- especially the last two years, Barry says. What I try to emulate is how he runs a program and the discipline.

Barry's team missed out on the playoffs last spring when a late-season run was wiped out by rain cancellations. The Pioneers got their first playoff victory in 12 years last Friday when they defeated Century of Hillsboro, 2-0.

We play three rounds in league, says Barry, whose team is 14-14. We had one win after the first round. I feel coming from there, we definitely achieved something.

Obviously, when Binney does leave for good, Barry wouldn't mind getting her shot.

That's a little ways off right now, she says. Larry and I haven't even discussed that possibility.

GOODELL TO MARSHFIELD -- Stan Goodell has long drawn on the inspiration of legendary Steve Prefontaine to motivate young distance runners.

On the eve of state cross country meets, Goodell customarily took runners to Pre's Rock in Eugene, where the running icon died in an automobile accident in 1975.

It served Goodell's teams well as both the boys and girls managed back-to-back state titles in the 1990s.

Now the 45-year-old Goodell has been hired to lead Marshfield's program in Coos Bay, where Prefontaine set national high school records before starring at Oregon and running in the 1972 Olympics.

Obviously, with Prefontaine having run there, I can't see another school I would rather go to, says Goodell, who grew up in nearby Bandon.

Goodell's Rogue River girls team won state crowns in 1996 and 1997. Though he was popular with students and parents, he wasn't a favorite among administrators and was forced to resign his teaching post last spring.

He is currently teaching at Brighton Academy in Grants Pass.

Goodell will be a campus security officer and coach distance runners during track season.

He learned Marshfield was looking for a cross country coach during the May — Grants Pass Rotary meet, where he chatted with Pirates track coach Craig Osterson at length.

Within days, he was interviewed twice and hired last week. He'll be working with the dean of students and an on-campus police officer.

It's very much a good move for me, he says. Obviously, I did not want to leave Rogue River. But I'm just excited about going to Marshfield and hope to retire there.

(Greg Stiles is a Mail Tribune sports writer. He can be reached at 776-4483.)