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Lillard, Ionescu win Oregon Sports Awards; meaningful week ahead for Timbers, Thorns; Pickles in home stretch; Hops in first place; Little League Softball World Series returns to Alpenrose

Oregon Sports Awards: Guards Damian Lillard of the Trail Blazers and Sabrina Ionescu from the University of Oregon have won major honors for 2018-19.

Lillard has been named the Harry Glickman Male Professional Athlete of the Year.

Ionescu is the Bill Hayward Female Amateur Athlete of the Year.

Other finalists for the Glickman were Ryan Crouser, track and field; Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers; Jordan Poyer, Buffalo Bills; and Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets.

Other Hayward finalists were: Jessica Hull, UO cross country/track and field, and Mikayla Pivec, Oregon State basketball.

Soccer; The Timbers will play 11 of their final 12 regular-season matches at home.

The Thorns will play six of their final eight at Providence Park.

That's a lot of meaningful soccer.

But first comes a significant Wednesday away from home for Portland's soccer teams.

The Timbers get a second shot in four days at Minnesota United, this time in the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The winner advances to face Atlanta United or Orlando City in the championship match on Aug. 27 or Aug. 28. If Portland wins Wednesday, it will be the road team for the final.

It is an interesting challenge for the Timbers and Giovanni Savarese. The coach played pretty much his first-choice lineup in Sunday's 1-0 MLS loss to Minnesota in oppressive heat that sapped the energy right out of the players (and the game).

The Open Cup champion receives $300,000, a spot in the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League and bragging rights that come with winning one of the longest running tournaments in American sport. So Wednesday's match is no throw-away opportunity.

The match kicks of at 5 p.m. PT, so conditions should be more tolerable than they were Sunday afternoon in St. Paul. This match could last 120 minutes if tied after 90, which would put more strain on tired bodies.

To see the Open Cup drama requires a subscription to the ESPN+ streaming service, which is a value for any soccer fan (and includes all United Soccer League matches for those interested in Timbers 2). There will be no local radio because ESPN owns the media rights to the Open Cup. Even though ESPN does not produce radio broadcasts for the tournament, local affiliates cannot carry the games.

The Thorns, meanwhile, will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Tacoma against rival Reign FC. Portland is second in the National Women's Soccer League after a strange 1-1 draw on Saturday with woebegone Sky Blue FC. Reign FC, formerly known as Seattle Reign FC, now plays at Cheney Stadium, home of the Tacoma Rainiers Triple-A baseball team.

The Thorns have a noon Sunday home showdown ahead with first-place North Carolina. With nine or 10 games left for most teams, six of the nine NWSL teams figure to battle for four playoff spots, including Reign FC, which enters the week in fourth place.

Portland should have its U.S. national team players available, unlike against Sky Blue, during which Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan were scoring for the United States in a 3-0 win over Ireland at the Rose Bowl in the first of five exhibitions celebrating the World Cup title. NWSL games are streamed by Yahoo Sports, which is free but not the quality of ESPN+ productions.

Pickles: Portland is down to its final six games of the 2019 West Coast League season. The Pickles (11-10 in the second half, 20-27 overall) will play at the Bend Elks (6-13, 18-28) Tuesday through Thursday, then return to Walker Stadium for a final, three-game series with the Cowlitz Black Bears (10-11, 20-28) from Friday through Sunday.

Hops: Hillsboro returns to Northwest League action Thursday with three games in three days at the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. The Hops went into the All-Star break on a seven-gae win streak, 10-3 in the second half and leading the South Division by two games over the Eugene Emeralds and by four over Salem-Keizer and the Boise Hawks.

Little League Softball: Oregon District 4 champion Willow Creek is among 10 teams in this year's Little League Softball World Series, which starts Wednesday and goes through Aug. 14 at Alpenrose Stadium.

Willow Creek will open against Canada at 1 p.m. Wednesday, the second of four games on opening day.

Other teams in their pool are Lombardia of Milano, Italy (Europe-Africa), Eastbank of River Ridge, Louisiana (Southwest) and Rowan of Salisbury, North Carolina (Southeast). Four of the five teams will move on to the elimination bracket.

American Legion baseball: The Wilson High Alpenrose Red Sox are headed to Cody, Wyoming to play in the Class A regional tournament for the first time since 1989. The Red Sox (35-11) will open at noon PT Friday against Idaho.

• The Portland-area Barbers made it to the AAA state tournament for the 10th year in a row and went 1-2 in the tourney at Klamath Falls.

The Barbers, coached by Joe Duran, had their eight-year run as Area 2 champions snapped with a second-place finish to Beaverton in league play. But the Barbers then qualified for state with a two-game sweep of Dr. Stewart's of Roseburg in the playoffs, winning 3-2 and 3-0. In the series opener, Kevin Blair drove in the winning run with a fifth-inning single, and Patrick Muskat allowed no hits and no runs over the final 2.2 innings to get the win. The next day, Kane Kiaunis pitched a complete-game three-hitter with no walks that lifted the Barbers' record to 31-10.

In the state tournament, the Barbers lost their first-round game 11-1 to the Eugene Overhead Door Challengers, who went on to finish second to the Medford Lithia Dodge Mustangs. The Barbers came back with a 5-1 victory over the Willamette Valley Titans of Springfield before being eliminated 12-8 by the Salem Withnell Dodgers.


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