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PREP ROUNDUP: Challengers inch closer to FWL title

Katelyn Willard, shown in an earlier game, was strong in the circle against South Umpqua.

MYRTLE CREEK — Needing a quality effort to give themselves a chance at a conference title and shot at a potential state crown, the Cascade Christian softball team delivered in a big way Tuesday.

Senior pitcher Katelyn Willard allowed four hits with 14 strikeouts and four walks and Kara Palmer launched her fifth home run of the spring to lead the Challengers to a 13-3 triumph over South Umpqua in a battle of Far West League leaders.

“It’s huge that they came out and played well,” said Cascade Christian coach Keith Willard.

Willard provided an RBI double in the top of the first inning to help spur the Challengers to a 4-0 advantage, and then her two-run double in the fourth preceded Palmer’s two-run homer that made it 8-0.

“One more home run and she ties the season mark for home runs for Cascade Christian and obviously we’re playing about half the games so that’s huge,” said coach Willard of Palmer’s fifth home run. Shaylee Ledesma hit six homers in 2017.

Cascade Christian (11-2) and South Umpqua (8-2) each entered Tuesday’s opening game of a three-game series tied atop the FWL with 8-1 records.

After Tuesday’s win, the Challengers now need to win at least one of the two scheduled games Friday at U.S. Cellular Community Park to claim the league title and a bid to the eight-team Class 3A playoffs.

Willard, who leads the team with a .529 batting average, finished 2-for-3 with three runs and three RBIs.

Palmer, who is batting .375, went 2-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs and McKenzie Bonner was 2-for-4 with one RBI and Neha Joseph 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI.

Also leading the charge this season for the Challengers has been senior catcher Ali Modrell (.452) and senior shortstop Zoie Fisher (.409).

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Willard and Modrell; T. Kelley and M. Love. W — Willard (11-2). L — T. Kelley. 2B — CC: Sweem, Willard 2. HR — CC: Palmer (5).

CRATER 7, ASHLAND 4: At Ashland, Kate Theobald’s two-run double highlighted a third-inning surge that gave Ashland a 4-2 lead but Crater scored five unanswered runs and got shutout pitching from Caitlyn Warner to secure the victory.

Warner had five strikeouts and allowed four hits and no runs over the final four innings of relief for the Comets (7-6). The senior also hit a two-run home run in the second inning that gave Crater its first lead at 2-1.

Glory Pistole hit a solo homer in the first for Ashland (1-11), while Shelby Brown had a double among her two hits and Theobald finished with two hits and two RBIs.

Maddie Sheadel had three hits and Ellie Laws added two hits for Crater, with Kaylynn Wolchok recording a triple.

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Perez, Warner (4) and Laws; Pistole, Heiken (6) and Theobald. W — Warner (2-2). L — Pistole (1-5). 2B — C: Kilbane, Davis; A: Brown. 3B — C: Wolchok. HR — C: Warner; A: Pistole (2).

ROGUE RIVER 13, NORTH VALLEY 3, 5 inn.: At Rogue River, Avery Bushey went 4-for-4, scored three runs, stole three bases and drove in a run as Rogue River compiled 14 hits overall to snap a two-game losing skid.

Presley Tiger got the pitching win for the Chieftains (6-2), striking out four over four innings with one earned run on four hits and three walks. The game was decided in the fifth inning by virtue of the 10-run mercy rule.

Taylor Woollett finished 3-for-4, scored twice and drove in a run for Rogue River and Mikayla Moore was 2-for-3 with an RBI and two stolen bases. Erica Hanson had a two-run single in the fourth inning and finished with three RBIs.

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Allison and Hanson; Tiger, Swanson (5) and Bushey. W — Tiger (6-2). L — Allison. 2B — NV: Douglas.

Girls Tennis

GRANTS PASS 7, NORTH MEDFORD 1: At Grants Pass, North Medford’s top doubles tandem of Jade Yang and Hadley Dunlevy helped the Black Tornado avoid a sweep by Grants Pass.

Yang and Dunlevy topped the Cavers’ Amelia Gladbach and Alyssa Jarred, 6-3, 6-1.

In top-seeded singles action, the Cavers’ Allie Rist beat Molly Milligan, 6-4, 6-2.

SINGLES: Allie Rist, GP, d. Molly Milligan, 6-4, 6-2; An Mei Goei, GP, d. Hailey Dolmage, 6-0, 6-0; Paige Pastrell, GP, d. Shelly Chung, 6-1, 6-3.

DOUBLES: Jade Yang-Hadley Dunlevy, NM, d. Amelia Gladbach-Alyssa Jarred, 6-3, 6-1; Maddy Cox-Allison Robinson, GP, Megan Burnett-Henry Taylor, 6-4, 6-0; Elise Crowson-Janessa Pilcher, GP, Sarah Grussenmeyer-Emma Almanza, 6-1, 6-0; Rowyn Burnside-Danni Rome, GP, won by forfeit.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, PHOENIX 1: Cascade Christian won two of three doubles matches and the lone singles match at Bear Creek Park.

The Challengers’ Tiana Williams prevailed in singles, and Phoenix’s Ally Ellis and Courtney House claimed victory at No. 1 doubles.

SINGLES: Tiana Williams, CC, d. Lexi Rogers, 8-4.

DOUBLES: Ally Ellis-Courtney House, P, d. Elle Harrington-Lily Preszler, 8-5; Makenna Dunn-Carlee Broadbent, CC, d. Agatha Hosking-Maddy Gridley, 8-3; Timnah Roberson-Ziona Christy, CC, d. Clara Newell-Maggie Bakke, 8-0.

ST. MARY’S 4, HENLEY 3: At Klamath Falls, St. Mary’s won the top two singles matches to kick-start the win over Henley.

Hannah Poisson won 8-3 over Lena Dreyer, and Jessica Traynor posted an 8-4 triumph over Sophia Graetsch.

SINGLES: Hannah Poisson, SM, d. Lena Dreyer, 8-3; Jessica Traynor, SM, d. Sophia Graetsch, 8-4; Grace Bernardino, H, d. Vanessa Fuentes, 8-6; Katherine Grayson, H, d. Essie Lee, 8-6.

DOUBLES: Elli Smith-Ashleigh Johnston, H, d. Mia Castillo-Sofia Castillo, 8-7; Pratheeka Weerakoon-NicolaChmelir, SM, d. Katherine Grayson-Merideth Brown, 8-1; Ella Weston-Annabelle Mayerle, SM, d. Lauren Wilkinson-Sydney Cox, 8-2.

Boys Tennis

SOUTH MEDFORD 4, ROSEBURG 2: South Medford won all three doubles matches to claim the victory on its home courts.

Andrean Gurov pulled out the Panthers’ lone singles win in the No. 1 slot. He downed Brian Powell, 7-6, 6-1.

Samuel Sykes and Elijah Spencer triumphed in the top doubles match, beating Logan Bishop and Gavin Loosli, 6-0, 6-4.

SINGLES: Andrean Gurov, SM, d. Brian Powell, 7-6, 6-1; Massimo Fallini, R, d. Tobias Whitley, 6-1, 6-1; Peyton Seal, R, d. Jayden Krupp, 6-0, 6-1.

DOUBLES: Samuel Sykes-Elijah Spencer, SM, d. Logan Bishop-Gavin Loosli, 6-0, 6-4; Hayden Allen-Andrew Oppermann, SM, d. Carter Dryden-Will Seidemann, 7-5, 4-6, 12-10; Simon DeVries-Diego Bencomo, SM, d. Nicholas Brown-Gian Ambrosini, 6-3, 6-2.

GRANTS PASS 6, NORTH MEDFORD 0: Grants Pass swept at North Medford High in a contest of pro-set matches.

The Cavemen’s Brock Huffaker won the top singles match over Casey Haggins, 8-6, and the tandem of Parker Pastell and Preston Smith won at No. 1 doubles over Haggins and Robert Doshier, 8-2.

SINGLES: Brock Huffaker, GP, d. Casey Haggins, 8-6; Jacob Pirosko, GP, d. Robert Doshier, 8-6; Evan Riggs, GP, d. Nick Snowden, 8-6; McKay Pratt, GP, d. Nick Doshier, 8-6.

DOUBLES: Parker Pastrell-Preston Smith, GP, d. Casey Haggins-Robert Doshier, 8-2; Christian Dara-Noah Horban, GP, d. Nick Snowden-Nick Doshier, 8-0.

ST. MARY’S 6, HENLEY 2: At Klamath Falls, St. Mary’s won three singles and three doubles contests for the decisive team victory.

Jackson Lopiano set the tone for the Crusaders at No. 1 singles, topping Nathan Elwood, 8-0.

SINGLES: Jackson Lopiano, SM, d. Nathan Elwood, 8-0; Brady Reed, SM, d. Carson French, 8-5; Logan Diaz McNeal, SM, d. Josh Hyunh, 8-6; Matt Holiday, H, d. Calvin Chmelir, 8-7.

DOUBLES: Landon Larson-Randolph Duran, H, d. Calvin Chmelir-Aiden Flaherty, 8-7 (8-6); Tom Wang-Nate Lemley, SM, d. Gabe Preston-Floyd Wigger, 8-6; Logan Diaz McNeal-Nate Lemley, SM, d. Ryan Orr-Charlie Gonsaki, 8-3; Matthew Poisson-Alex Wilk, SM, d. Ethan Roeloffs-Charlie Yu, 8-4.