Baseball: North Marion takes league crown
The No. 2 North Marion baseball team earned its first conference title in four years, a play-in round bye and home field advantage throughout the 2018 state playoffs after sweeping the Cascade Cougars in a three-game series last week to end the regular season.
The Huskies (20-4, 10-2 Oregon West Conference) entered the week needing to win two of three games against the Cougars to wrest the conference title away from the two-time conference champion Philomath Warriors.
After beating the Cougars 13-0 on May 7 to open the series, North Marion was able to clinch the league title in front of its home crowd the following day, beating the Cougars 10-0 on senior night for the team's sixth shutout of the season.
Both wins came as a result of masterful performances on the mound from the team's pitching staff.
Junior Griffin Henry got the start in the opening game, striking out 11 batters in five innings of work to earn the victory.
The Huskies tallied 11 hits in the win, led by senior Andy Schmitz's 3-for-3 performance at the plate, driving in three runs while scoring a pair himself.
Brady Hansen also went perfect, going 2-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs, while Bryce Lemon added a pair of hits as well.
Trevor Ensign got the nod to start on senior night in the following game, pitching the first two innings before bowing out to sophomore Ryan Olson, who threw the last three to earn the save.
The pair combined to allow just three hits on the day.
Offensively, the middle of the lineup did the meat of the work, led by a pair of doubles from Griffin Henry, driving in a team-high three runs.
Isaac Hansen had a team-best three hits, while Nic Iliyn and Grant Henry each notched a pair of hits.
While the Huskies secured the league title with the win, the team needed one more to win the conference outright, rather than by virtue of a tiebreaker over Philomath.
The Huskies finished the week on Thursday with an 8-3 win to finish at the top of the standings.
Brady Hansen got the start and the win, giving up a run and striking out a pair in four innings. Milo Bilyeu and Grant Henry teamed up to pitch the final three to secure the win.
Schmitz and Lemon each had a pair of hits in the victory, which saw the Huskies score seven combined runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
North Marion now moves on to the state playoffs, where they have a sizable break from play before hosting a first round game on May 23. The team will be eligible to host additional playoff games on May 25 and May 29 should the team advance that far in the playoff bracket.