The summer softball team made into bracket play and won the sportsmanship award at regionals in Missoula, Montana

SUBMITTED PHOTO - The D2 Oregon champions hold a banner for opening ceremonies at the regional softball tournament in Missoula, Montana.

On July 7, the Colton High School summer softball team, playing for Little League Softball District Two Senior League, won the state championship, earning them a berth to the regional tournament in Missoula, Montana. The team and their parents fundraised the money needed and the team headed to Missoula for games played July 20-24, with two of the games televised on ESPN2.

The team was coached by Jim Brochis, and the 11 players from Colton High School were Katelyn Dutton, Hailee Hordichok, Madelynne Pierce, Paige Pierce, Lauren Reed, Renee Richardson, Madelyn Robinson, Kaia Schrosk, Courtney Weinberger, Laina West and Amy Wimsatt. The team consisted also of four players from the Franklin and David Douglas High School teams: Mercedes Blasier, TaLeah Stephenson, Alicia Peraza and Christina Barrett; and one from Estacada: Elizabeth Smith.

At the tournament, the team came away with a win against Arizona, who had already won a game. Taking the win in the do-or-go-home competition, the Oregon team was able to advance to bracket play, but did not move out of the first round. The local team was awarded the Sportsmanship Award by a unanimous vote of the other teams.

The rest of the story is told here by three members of the team: fourteen-year-old shortstop Hailee Hordichok, fifteen-year-old outfielder Kaia Schrosk and thirteen-year-old right fielder Laina West.

"Fundraising was super fun," Hordichok said. "Some of my teammates and I were able to go around Molalla and ask the local business for donations. We needed to raise about $10,000 to $15,000 to be able to attend the tournament. We were so grateful when we reached our fundraising goal and were able to go to Montana."

"Our team was honored to be there and represent Oregon," Schrosk said. "We are very thankful that the community made it happen. It was an amazing time for bonding and I'm closer with all the girls. We grew together as a team. The competition was challenging, but everyone was fair. Being honored with the Sportsmanship Award was pretty special. It was a great experience to meet girls from all over. So many of them made an effort to meet with us and vice versa. It was a wonderful show of unity in the softball community."

"Some of my favorite times were the opening ceremonies where they treated us with a barbecue and fun activities," Hordichok said. "And the nail-biter game that I will never forget and fun off the field with a bowling and pizza night of team bonding."

"I don't think it would have been possible without our amazing parents' involvement," West said. "I think the team really wants to show gratitude to everyone for getting us there. Being on this team was such an amazing experience. All our parents were so supportive and adorable the way they rallied behind us on the sidelines."

The girls all agreed meeting the players and coaches from the other teams was a favorite part of the trip and everyone in the town of Missoula was very friendly and welcoming.

Hordichok said, "It was an experience to remember, to be able to play with all of my friends and represent Oregon in regionals."

The parents' group would like to thank the following for their donations: Cascade NW Construction,  Sanitech, Price Auto Body, Pacific Rim, Premiere Paw Spa, Rover's Makeover, Walen Construction, E.A. White Construction, Lumberjack Grill, Coltontel, Jason Freauf at Country Financial, RMH Bartels Construction, Interfor, NV Feed Store, Hobart Oil, Car Quest, JD Peterkin, Mount Hood Little League, Oregon Plumbing and Pipe, Colton Fire Volunteer Association, Colton Coffee Company, Breakthrough Fitness, Capitol Electric, The Dentist Off Main, Floyd Family Orthodontics, Sandy Suburban Ford, Magna Construction, Pacific Architectural Wood Products M and M Dental, Art Erickson Tire and Auto, Jud M. Buswell Welding and Fabrication, Automatic Fire Protection Systems and Cowboy Coffee, Sammy's Oregon Realty and Hall's Barbershop. Thanks also to the Molalla Fire Department and Les Schwab for allowing the team to hold car washes in their parking lots and all the businesses that let them put out donation buckets and donated raffle basket items.

"We had some donors who would like to remain anonymous," said Bethany West, mother of player Laina. "We had donations from so many friends, family members, community members and even landlords. Everyone was so very generous. We are truly blessed to live in the community we do."

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