No. 1-seeded Ducks stay home
The University of Oregon softball team, coming off its outright Pac-12 title (clinched with a three-game sweep at Cal last weekend) is the No. 1 seed in the NCAA playoffs.
The Ducks (47-7, 21-3) will open at home at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against Albany. The Eugene regional continues Friday and Saturday at Jane Sanders Stadium.
Oregon State made the 64-team field, too, with a 28-26 record (9-14 and sixth in the nine-team Pac-12). The Beavers are being sent to the Tuscaloosa regional, which includes host Alabama, the No. 12 seed. OSU's first game is 4 p.m. PT Friday vs. Wisconsin.
• In track and field, the Oregon men won their 12th consecutive Pac-12 championship last weekend at Stanford. The UO women were a disappointing second, snapping a string on nine team triumphs. Oregon junior Chaquinn Cook, from Benson High, was second in the triple jump.
• Concordia's men won the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference track and field title. The Cavaliers scored 138 points to top runner-up Western Washington (127) at Monmouth. Individual GNAC champs for Concordia: Carlos Ortiz (100, 200 meters) and Jacob Slate (hammer).
The Concordia women tied Central Washington for second with 121 points each at the GNAC championships, won by Seattle Pacific (154 1/2). Concordia's Christina MacDonald won the shot put and hammer, and Melissa Ausman captured the discus title.
• Three former Portland Winterhawks remain in the hunt for the Stanley Cup.
Defensemen Luca Sbisa (Vegas), Brayden Coburn (Tampa Bay) and Joe Morrow (Winnipeg) are in the NHL conference finals, though Morrow hasn't played since the first playoff round because several Jets returned from injury.
Coburn and the Lightning are in a tight spot after dropping the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals — at home, no less — to a Washington Capitals team that looks like it is on a mission.
Sbisa and the expansion Golden Knights lost Game 1 at Winnipeg in the Western finals (Game 2 was on Monday).
Winnipeg won Game 7 at Nashville last week to win a second-round series that featured the top two teams in the regular season (sound familiar, Winterhawks fans?).
That result was disappointing for former Hawk Ryan Johansen, whose Nashville team lost in the Cup finals a year ago. But the Jets' win was good news for former Winterhawks coach and general manager Jamie Kompon, an assistant coach for Winnipeg.
Kompon coached the Winterhawks for two seasons but was fired after Portland was eliminated from the 2016 playoffs. Three months later, he was hired as an assistant coach for the Jets, who might be on to something. Kompon previously was an assistant coach for Stanley Cup winning teams in Los Angeles (2012) and Chicago (2013).
Odds are good there will be a franchise hoisting the Cup for the first time. Of the remaining teams, only Tampa Bay (2004) has won a NHL championship.
• The West Coast League was among those celebrating James Paxton's recent no-hitter for the Seattle Mariners.
Paxton pitched for the WCL Kelowna Falcons in 2007. In 11 starts, he struck out 62 batters and posted a 2.94 ERA.
Dan Segel, Portland resident and owner of the WCL Corvallis Knights, remembers being impressed by a skinny left-hander who threw in the low 90s.
"It was like, wow, that's pretty good. This kid's got a future," Segel recalls.
Paxton and fellow Mariner Mitch Haniger are two of 31 former WCL players who appeared in major league games last season. A total of 22 WCL alums were on opening day rosters this season.
Speaking of opening day, the West Coast League's is on June 1. The Portland Pickles will launch their first WCL season on Friday, June 1, against Port Angeles at Walker Stadium.