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Playoff time - in a perfect world

Joe Zavala —

This is the way the 2003-04 school year would end in a — perfect



o Playing with the poise of a player five years her senior, — Ashland High sophomore Kayla Moyse forces a third and deciding set in — the second round of the 4A girls' state tennis tournament against top-seeded — Qu Momie.

In the third set, Moyse battles back from triple-match — point to hold serve and force a tie-breaker, then overcomes a quadruple — match point there to tie Qu at 7-all. After an epic back-and-forth battle, — Moyse finally pulls out the stunner, clinching the match on a between-the-legs — topspin lob that kisses the corner for a 20-18 win.

Moyse is carried off the court on the shoulders of head — coach Karl Carstensen, who just returned from watching Chelsea Van Lehn — and Kate Morris upset the No. 7 seeds.

o Ashland senior pitcher Micah Weston allows just two — hits and strikes out 11 in a surprise start that spearheads Ashland's — 1-0, first-round playoff win over Dallas. An unassisted triple-play by — third baseman Rocky Reeser and a solo home run by pinch hitter Sam Littleton — in the bottom of the seventh saves the day. The performance allows Ashland — coach Jason Robustelli to rest Grizzly ace Chad Hegdahl, who wakes up — to find his arm completely healed of the tendinitis that's been nagging — him all year.


o In one of the greatest performances in Southern Oregon — Conference track and field history, Ashland's Erika Boehnke sets SOC records — in the high jump, triple jump and long jump at the district meet. The — performance inspires her teammates, who put up personal records across — the board on their way to capturing the team title.

o Moyse caps her remarkable run with a 6-7, 7-6 (12), — 7-6 (14) win over second-seeded Grant junior Julia Strang in a 4A championship — match instantly hailed as the best ever. Moyse's backhand winner down — the line off a Strang overhead proves to be the difference. Meanwhile, — in the girls' doubles tournament, Van Lehn and Morris obliterate the No. — 2 seeds in the finals, 6-0, 6-0.


o Hegdahl strikes out 13 on the mound and crushes two — homers at the plate, as the Grizz baseball team pounds No. 4 Redmond into — submission and raises eyebrows across the state with a 16-3, five-inning — win in the second round of the state playoffs. Arron Nelson and Ben Dodds — set the tone for the afternoon by hitting back-to-back inside-the-park — home runs in the first inning. The abbreviated game allows Hegdahl to — save his arm for Wednesday's third-round clash with Corvallis.

o As it turns out, the Grizzlies don't need Hegdahl. Aaron — San Nicholas pitches a three-hit shutout and the Grizzlies stay hot at — the plate in a 12-1, six-inning win over the Spartans. John Goldberg and — Jackson Rowe each hit two home runs, including Rowe's 430-foot shot to — left in the second inning that destroys the scoreboard at North Mountain — Park.

May 28

o Sophomore distance runner Natalie Hemphill overcomes — a 45-meter deficit in the final lap to pull out the 800 state championship. — The unprecedented comeback, dubbed "The Kick" in a Daily Tidings headline, — draws national attention and leads to the design of a new Nike shoe: The — Hemphill Infinity 45-800. Meanwhile, Boehnke completely clears the pit — on her first long jump attempt for the Grizzlies' second state championship — of the day.

o Westview takes an 8-0 lead in the first inning, but — Ashland overcomes its first deficit of the postseason by scoring nine — runs, eight on squeeze bunts, with two outs in the seventh. Hegdahl's — head-first slide caps the comeback and gives the senior pitcher his second — win of the playoffs. Seven of Westview's runs are unearned. After the — game, Dodds guarantees the Grizzlies will beat South Medford in the semifinals. — "It won't even be close," he says.

May 29

o Sporting a pair of Hemphill Infinities, Brynn Cogdill — becomes the first double-national champion in Southern Oregon University — history when she wins both the 1,500 and 5,000 in record times.

o Dodds was right. Playing before a standing-room only — crowd of 5,000 at Miles Field, the Grizzlies score four runs in the first — inning on Goldberg's grand slam and never look back in a 9-1 semifinal — win. Weston shuts down South Medford for the second time this season, — holding the SOC champs to two hits while striking out 10. Afterwards, — in a show of respect that breaks all boundaries, South Medford shortstop — Andy Narus implores the crowd to make the trip to Keizer Stadium and support — the Grizzlies. The gesture is praised by all, save the Grizzlies' championship — game opponent: North Medford.

June 5

o Playing in front of the largest, loudest crowd in state — championship history, the Grizzlies and Black Tornado match each other — blow for blow through 14 magical innings. With the score tied 3-3 in the — top of the 15th, North scores two runs on a double by Rob Folsom for the — first earned runs against Hegdahl all day. In the bottom the inning, Beau — Hovland strikes out Ashland's first two batters, prompting the North Medford — fan section to chant, "it's all over." Consecutive base hits by Nelson — and Dodds brings up Hegdahl, who fouls off six would-be strikeout pitches — before finally getting to a full count. With the crowd on its feet, Hegdahl — launches a drive to deep left field. The ball looks destined for foul — territory, but a strong wind gust at the last moment saves the day. It — hits the foul pole, igniting an explosion of cheers reportedly heard as — far away as Wilsonville. The crowd storms the field and carries off Hegdahl, — who's wearing a pair of baseball-modified Hemphill Infinities.

The headline in the Tidings echoes the North Medford fans: — 'It's all over."

Hey, we can dream, can't we?