Junior softball takes long road to title
After first loss, JC rallies to win five straight
UPDATE: Jefferson County will open the state tournament against District 4 champion Tillamook County at 1 p.m. July 13 in Klamath Falls.
After falling in the first game of the tournament, the Jefferson County junior softball team wasn't about to let that happen again.
The ballclub rallied from the opening loss to win its next five games, and captured the Oregon District 5 championship July 4 with two wins against Columbia at Mountain View High School in Bend.
The team beat Columbia, made up of players from Boardman, Umatilla and Irrigon, 10-7 in the championship game to force a second, since that was Columbia's first loss.
A Columbia win would have eliminated Jefferson County in the double elimination format.
Jefferson County proved the win wasn't a fluke by pounding Columbia again, 12-5, to keep the championship trophy in Central Oregon.
Jefferson County avenged its first loss of the tournament, a 16-13 decision to Hermiston, in the loser's bracket semifinal with an emphatic 11-2 win to knock Hermiston out.
Hermiston had to play earlier in the day, and they fell to Columbia 14-5, which put Columbia in the championship game.
In order to earn the rematch with Hermiston, Jefferson County scored the most runs in a tournament game this year when they dumped 34 on Crook County, in a 34-6 win to knock Crook County out.
Jefferson County also knocked out Warm Springs Nation, 5-3, in the team's first loser's bracket game June 30.
With the pair of wins against Columbia, Jefferson County will hit the road south to Klamath Falls for the state tournament.
Four of the six scheduled districts to compete have qualified teams, but Jefferson County still technically doesn't know who they are playing yet.
They will face the winner of the District 4 tournament – which includes leagues from Beaverton, Hillsboro, southwest Portland, Tigard, Forest Grove and Tillamook County – on Saturday.
A win against District 4 would give Jefferson County a shot at District 3 champion, Pilot Rock.
District 2 has yet to qualify a team into the state tournament, either. That district includes leagues in Gresham, southeast Portland, Estacada, Troutdale and Clackamas.
Teams in the tournament, including Jefferson County, are Scappoose (District 1), Pilot Rock (District 3), and West Salem/Parrish/South Salem (District 7).
The tournament will run through July 19, and the winner will represent Oregon at the junior softball regional tournament, beginning Aug. 1 in Tucson, Ariz.