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Sandy hosts West Albany in a semifinal matchup Tuesday

by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Tiffany Neumann reaches low to snag a throw at first base during the teams 3-2 win over Redmond in the second round Friday. After Sandy’s thrilling win over Redmond on Friday, the Pioneers couldn’t celebrate for long. They knew West Albany awaited in Tuesday’s state semifinal, and that game required all of their attention.

The Bulldogs won their final 10 league games, outscoring their opponents 141-2 in that stretch. They finished with a 20-1 record in Mid-Willamette Conference play to take the league title.

West Albany and Sandy jockeyed for position in the OSAA rankings throughout the season, especially late. Sandy finished ranked second and West Albany was third. The Bulldogs reached the semis by earning shutout wins over Willamette and Hood River Valley.

Like Sandy, West Albany has relied heavily on stellar pitching on its way to success. The Bulldogs are led in the pitcher’s circle by the duo of Kelsey Broadus and Julie Smith-Harrington. The pair has combined to hurl 19 shutouts this season. Broadus and Smith-Harrington entered Tuesday’s contest against Sandy allowing 0.97 runs per game. What’s most impressive is that both pitchers are just freshmen.

With top-ranked Pendleton now out of the tournament, Sandy and West Albany were the two highest ranked squads remaining. Both teams could have made case that they were the best team in the state in the regular season. Tuesday’s winner advanced to Saturday’s title game for a chance to prove it.

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