Madras, Culver girls help 16-and-under fastpitch softball team win Oregon state championship.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - The High Desert YellowJackets, which included girls from Madras, Culver, Prineville and Redmond, captured the ASA 16A state championships last weekend at Sherwood High. Pictured from top left: head coach Jeremy Puckett, assistant coach Frank Martinez, Natalie Hill McCoy, Kayla Berg, Ondriah Oyloe, Rylee Stearns, Audrey McKenzie, Kalyn Martinez and assistant coach Tim Berg. Pictured from bottom left: Lorena Vasquez, Caitlyn Elliott, Berkley Puckett, Lizzie Steuart, Ashley Owens and Jinya Glenn.
The High Desert YellowJackets girls fast-pitch softball team won the 16A Amateur Softball Association of America state championships at Sherwood High School July 8-9.

The YellowJackets opened the tournament with a 4-3 win over the Oregon City Nightmare on Saturday— the first of three close contests the two teams played.

On Sunday, the YellowJackets started the day with a 5-3 win over the Capital City Crush, setting up a rematch with Oregon City. The Nightmare edged the YellowJackets 2-1, which forced a championship game to be played later that afternoon.

In the championship game, the YellowJackets defeated the Oregon City Nightmare 11-10.

According to a press release, the 2017 state championship win was the first for the competitive Central Oregon team — consisting of girls 16 years of age and under from Culver, Madras, Bend, Prineville and Redmond.

Lorena VasquezThe roster included Culver High softball player Lorena Vasquez, who was a first team all-league utility for the Bulldogs last season as a sophomore.

Madras High's Lizzie Steuart was also on the team, following a sophomore season in which she earned second-team all-league honors as a pitcher for the White Buffalos.

Head coach Jeremy Puckett said he couldn't be prouder of the team's achievement.

"These girls have incredible work ethics and the drive to succeed," he said. "It's truly an honor to coach each and every one of them."

Lizzie SteuartPuckett was joined by assistant coaches Frank Martinez, Tim Berg and Hayes McCoy.

The YellowJackets qualified for the National Championships July 30 to Aug. 6 in Normal, Illinois, but they likely won't be in attendance due to financial and time constraints, Puckett said.

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