Wild game with Scappoose ends in eighth inning

by: PHOTO BY ANNA WILLARD FOR THE PIONEER - Jefferson County leftfielder Kelsie Mitchell hits a single in the top of the second inning to score one run in the first round of the Oregon State Junior Softball Championships on Saturday in Klamath Falls.UPDATE: The Jefferson County junior softball team lost a heartbreaker in the state semifinals, a 16-15 eight-inning game against Scappoose on Wednesday, which eliminated them from the state tournament in Klamath Falls. They stayed alive in the tournament with a 6-2 win against Tillamook County on Tuesday. A complete recap of the game against Scappoose will be coming soon.

Being one game away from elimination hasn't bothered the Jefferson County junior softball all-star team all summer.

With its tournament life on the line, Jefferson County crushed the District 4 representative, West Salem/Parrish/South Salem, 19-3 Monday at the state tournament in Klamath Falls.

Jefferson County manager Jason Thomas said he didn't have to say a lot before the game, and that his team pretty much knew what they had to do.

"I just told them to relax and have fun," he said. "We have been in this situation for most of our games, so we were pretty confident and came out aggressive at the plate and on the base paths."

The win makes the Jefferson County club 6-0 in elimination games this summer in district and state play. During the district tournament, Jefferson County lost its first game of the tournament, 16-13 to Hermiston, and then won five games in a row to come through the loser's bracket and win the district crown.

Thomas said that experience was critical to succeeding in the same situation Monday, and it's what they'll have to do for the rest of the tournament.

by: PHOTO BY ANNA WILLARD FOR THE PIONEER - Jefferson County pitcher Kira Thomas threw four innings Saturday against Tillamook."In districts, basically every game was an elimination game for us," Thomas said. "We play better when we have to play every day. We stay in a rhythm and keep our focus."

At the plate against the Salem-based team, Jefferson County pounded out 17 hits, including a 4-for-4 day from Leah Buck.

With ace pitcher Kira Thomas unavailable for the game, since she pitched all nine innings against Pilot Rock in a 9-6 loss on Sunday, Chloe Martin and Jordan Patt split the pitching duties to shut the Salem team down.

"The main thing about today was we hit the ball like we could, and our defense came around," Coach Thomas said. "When we play every day, it gives us time to get everything clicking, and today we had that."

by: PHOTO BY ANNA WILLARD FOR THE PIONEER - Jefferson County's Leah Buck slides into second as Tillamook second baseman, Anna Oldenkamp, tags the base for the out in the top of the sixth inning Saturday in Klamath Falls. Madras beat Tillamook 12-6 in the first round of the Oregon State Juniors Softball Championships.The win pushed Jefferson County through to the loser's bracket semifinals for another game against Tillamook County, and eliminated the Salem-based team from further play.

Tillamook County eliminated Mt. Hood/Powell/Clackamas on Monday to earn a rematch with Jefferson County, who beat them 12-6 in the tournament's opening game.

The second game against Tillamook County was Tuesday, but was not available by the Pioneer's press deadline. If the team beat them, they will play in the loser's bracket final game Wednesday, in order to advance to the state championship game Thursday.

From here until the end of the tournament, if Jefferson County slips once and loses, the season will be over for them.

Pilot Rock 9, Jefferson County 6 (nine innings)

A costly error in the ninth inning allowed three Pilot Rock runs in the frame, and to beat Jefferson County on Sunday.

Thomas said a close call at third base sent the game into extra innings, and if the call would have gone his team's way, Jefferson County would still be undefeated in the tournament.

Instead of making the third out to end the inning, Pilot Rock capitalized on the break and scored to tie the game.

by: PHOTO BY ANNA WILLARD FOR THE PIONEER - Kianna Moschetti slides safely into home on a Kira Thomas triple in the top of the sixth inning Saturday as Tillamook catcher Lexie Zuercher waits for the throw home."I felt like we played well enough to win," Thomas said. "Our bats weren't as good as they could have been, but I still thought we should have won."

Thomas went all nine innings in the circle for Jefferson County, and will be available to pitch in Tuesday's game against Tillamook County.

Jefferson County 12, Tillamook County 6

Jefferson County broke a 5-5 tie with a seven-run sixth inning to claim the tournament-opening win against Tillamook County on Saturday.

"That broke their back," Thomas said. "There were a couple walks in there, but we strung a bunch of hits together and went station to station."

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