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Trojans seek to defend their 2018 state title against the 2017 state champion North Douglas Warriors

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - The Kennedy Trojans make their second consecutive state championship appearance and third in program history when they play the North Douglas Warriors on May 31 in Eugene.The Kennedy softball team's first state championship was so good, the Trojans are ready to do it all over again.

Kennedy defeated the hosting Toledo Boomers 7-1 on May 28 in the semifinals of the 2A/1A Softball State Championship tournament, sending the team back to the title game, where they will seek to defend their 2018 championship.

The Trojans (22-4, 16-0 Special District 2) will square off against the North Douglas Warriors (27-3, 17-1 SD3), who defeated the Lakeview Honkers 2-0 in the other side of the bracket to qualify for their fourth state title appearance.

The two programs share an entwined playoff history over the past half decade, meeting each other in the state tournament in each of the past five seasons. Most recently, the Warriors knocked off the Trojans in the 2017 semifinals en route to North Douglas' only state championship. Kennedy returned the favor last year in the quarterfinals of their state title run.

Kennedy will get the opportunity to defend their title after the Trojans broke open a 1-1 game against the Boomers (25-3, 14-0 SD4) by erupting for six runs combined in the third and fourth innings.

The Trojans took the lead for good in the third when Hailey Arritola and Grace Schaecher each drew walks, leading to an RBI single to center field by Ellie Cantu that drove in Arritola.

Kalyssa Kleinschmit followed by driving in Schaecher's courtesy runner, Morgan Kyle before Elise Suing popped out to shortstop to end the inning.

Schaecher worked her way through the Toledo lineup on defense, going one-two-three, including two of her game-high eight strikeouts. The junior pitcher gave up just three hits in a complete-game effort, the lone run coming in the opening inning of the game.

The Trojans added to their lead in the fourth with a two-out rally that was kicked off by Emily Cuff, who loaded the bases on fielding error by Toledo third baseman Kaycie Otis.

Schaecher took advantage of the extra opportunity, hitting a bases-clearing triple to centerfield to score Cuff, Arritola and Sophia Carley. Morgan again entered for Schaecher and was driven home by Cantu to make it 7-1.

Schaecher scattered three hits across the final innings of the contest, bringing a close to Toledo's season and putting the Trojans back in the state championship game.

In addition to her successful day on the mound, Schaecher finished offensively with four RBIs, a double and a triple. Cantu was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, while Arritola and Kyle each led the team with two runs scored.

2019 2A/1A Softball State Championship

— No. 7 Kennedy (22-5, 16-0 SD2) vs. No. 9 North Douglas (27-3, 17-1 SD3)

— Friday, May 31 at 5 p.m.

— Jane Sanders Stadium, University of Oregon

Shared Playoff History

The Trojans and Warriors have faced off in each of the previous five state playoff tournaments

2018: Kennedy 13, North Douglas 0 (quarterfinals)

2017: North Douglas 3, Kennedy 2 (semifinals)

2016: Kennedy 9, North Douglas 1 (quarterfinals)

2015: North Douglas 6, Kennedy 3 (first round)

2014: North Douglas 11, Kennedy 1 (first round)

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Kennedy junior Grace Schaecher rounds the bases after hitting her second consecutive home run against the Glide Wildcats on May 24. Teammate Elise Suing concluded the game with a walkoff grand slam.

Kennedy 13, Glide 1

Prior to the team's semifinal victory, the Trojans pounded the visiting Glide Wildcats with a flurry of home runs to emerge out of the quarterfinals with a 13-1 victory in five innings on May 24.

Kennedy put the finishing touches on the game in the bottom of the fifth courtesy of Suing, who hit a walk-off grand slam over the left field fence to score Kyle, Cantu and Kleinschmit and end the game early.

It was the third home run of the game for the Trojans, following back-to-back bombs from Schaecher in the first two innings to give her team a 6-0 lead.

Schaecher struck her first blow with Lydia Berning and Cuff on base, driving the third pitch off Glide starter Jordan Williams into centerfield and over the fence.

The Kennedy junior found herself at the plate with two runners on again in the second inning, and delivered another homer in almost the exact same place, bringing home Berning and Cuff a second time.

Schaecher finished that game with six RBIs to go along with seven strikeouts and two hits allowed in five innings on the mound.

Suing had four RBIs of her own, while Cuff led the team with three runs scored.

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