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Upstart Grants Pass remains on playoff roll with 2-1 triumph

State softball

GRANTS PASS -- At the beginning of the prep softball season the closest Grants Pass was expected to get to the state playoffs was as spectators.

After coming off a 3-13 campaign in 1998, the Cavers were picked for last in the eight-team Southern Oregon Conference.

And up until the final regular season SOC doubleheader, the Cavers' playoff expectations were doubtful.

Now with Friday's stunning 2-1 upset over Reynolds High of Troutdale, Grants Pass has advanced to the Class 4A state quarterfinals.

This is unknown turf for a school whose only previous state playoff occurred in 1982 and had never registered a playoff victory.

The Cavers (20-7) will attempt to win their fourth consecutive playoff contest on the road at — p.m. Monday against the Midwestern No. 2 team North Eugene, which defeated Clackamas 8-2 on Friday.

We've achieved more than anyone can imagine from the start of the season, Grants Pass coach Clay Rounsaville said. We're sure not as talented as a lot of teams in the playoffs, but we've found a way to pull some games out.

That's exactly what Grants Pass did against the Mount Hood League runner-up.

Reynolds pitcher Heidi Nutter had blanked the Cavers through the first five innings and it looked the Raiders first-inning run was going to be enough.

Then Grants Pass' playoff hitting star, junior third baseman Reshaun Lewis, got things going with a sixth-inning leadoff single and Gabby Rathburn followed with a base hit. But two outs later, the Cavers still remained one run behind.

Becky Heater, who's been sensational on the mound in the playoffs for Grants Pass, evened the score at 1-1 with a timely RBI single.

The Grants Pass seventh began innocently enough when its first two batters were retired by Nutter. Then Mary Barbian kept the Cavers hopes alive with a single.

With Lewis at the plate, Rounsaville figured this was a good time for a gamble and sent Barbian, who successfully stole second.

Rounsaville's thinking was if Barbian got thrown out at least the Cavers would leadoff the next inning with their best hitter.

But there wouldn't be a next inning.

Lewis promptly delivered her seventh hit in the playoffs with a run-scoring line drive to right-center to win the game.

By golly, she (Lewis) came through, said Rounsaville. It was a beautiful hit. There was like a script written for it.

It's been a redeeming playoff for Lewis.

She's a kid that struggled a little bit hitting during the season and struggled a little bit defensively too, said Rounsaville. She gets down on herself, but she has skills as much as anybody on our team and has turned it up in the playoffs.

Heater, who allowed 10 hits and struck out six, couldn't match Nutter's 10 strikeout effort, but the the senior honorable-mention SOC all-star got the outs when needed.

They're such a disciplined hitting team, that when Becky threw a bad pitch they got around on it, said Rounsaville. She did a real good job of locating the ball and taking time and not getting rattled.

Reynolds ..............100 000 0 -- — 10 2 Grants Pass ............000 001 — -- 2 7 2

Heidi Nutter and Amy Selzer; Heater and Rathburn. W -- Heater (17-7). L -- Nutter. 2B -- GP: Lewis.

AMITY 3, CASCADE CHRISTIAN — -- Jennifer Pendergraft swatted two big hits to lead Amity past Cascade Christian in Class 2A softball playoff action.

Pendergraft had a run-scoring double in the second inning and a single in the seventh inning to go 2-for-3, while Rhonda DeVore tallied two hits.

Whitney Brookins, who led off with a single, scored Cascade's only run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Rebekah Gettman. Cascade threatened to score again with one out, but left Maria Stutzman, who drew a walk, on third base.

Stutzman and Cheryl Gordon tallied the other two hits for Cascade Christian.

Pitchers Lisa Nelson of Amity and Laurel Kelley of Cascade both struck out seven and walked two.

Amity moves on to play Corbett, a 1-0 winner over Regis, on Monday.

Amity .............................110 000 — -- — 6 — Cascade Christian .........000 001 0 -- — 3 1

Nelson and Reeves; Kelley, Gordon (7) and Gettman. W -- Nelson. L -- Kelley. 2B -- A: Pendergraft.