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The classification will follow the blueprint it used to stage season-ending events in Season 2

PMG FILE PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - North Marion High School is scheduled to host the 4A Showcase baseball final, though it could be moved if the two teams playing in the championship game are not from the area.As a catalyst for organizing the 4A Showcase events during the Season 2 culminating week, Marshfield athletic director Greg Mulkey was gratified by the positive feedback he received from schools and teams.

But perhaps the most meaningful gesture came from the North Marion girls soccer team, which sent him a hat and photo after winning the 4A Showcase tournament.

"It tells me that they were so pleased with how things went," Mulkey said.

In fact, 4A schools considered the Showcase such a success that they have sketched out similar plans for the Season 3 culminating week. Baseball and softball will have end-of-season tournaments and track, golf and tennis will have statewide final events.

"We're going to do the same thing," Mulkey said.

Just as in soccer and volleyball, baseball and softball will have eight-team tournaments. The field will be composed of the No. 1 team from each of the six leagues and the two highest-ranked No. 2 teams, as determined by a committee.

The committee will release the first rankings after the third week and the final rankings May 15. The first round of the double-elimination tournament will be May 18, followed by the semifinals May 20 and the trophy games May 22.

In a change from Season 2, home sites will be used through the semifinals, rather than the quarterfinals. Just as in Season 2, though, if a team must make a round trip of at least 360 miles, the game will be played at a neutral site.

North Marion High School is scheduled to play host to the Showcase baseball final, third-place game and consolation final, but a game could be moved for geographical reasons.

"If it's Marshfield playing Mazama, we're not going to drive to North Marion," Mulkey said.

A final site for softball is yet to be determined. Mulkey said he will explore several possibilities, among them college facilities at Oregon State, Oregon and Willamette.

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - After the North Marion girls soccer team won the 4A Showcase championship game, the Huskies sent a championship hot and photo to Marshfield athletic director Greg Mulkey, who helped organize the unofficial 4A state playoff.Organizers had considered expanding the brackets to 16 teams, and extending the season one week, if Season 4 activities were prohibited by state guidance. But the Governor's Office and the Oregon Health Authority updated the guidance April 20 to allow for full-contact indoor sports, clearing the way for basketball and wrestling in Season 4.

End-of-season competition for track, tennis and golf will be either one- or two-day events. Mulkey sent a survey to schools to gauge the sentiment.

"So far, everybody seems to be real positive about two-day, but we wanted to run that by our schools and get the feedback, because we know that some schools or districts may not allow to do that," Mulkey said. "We're going to hopefully decide that quickly, with what type of feedback we get."

Siuslaw and Stayton have offered to play host to the track meet. Mulkey said that travel to either site does not appear to be an obstacle for schools.

"Baker said either one is fine. They'll travel to Siuslaw, if needed," Mulkey said.

Mulkey has secured Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis – part of a rotation for OSAA championships since 1991 – for a season-ending tournament May 17. Depending on feedback, the tournament could add a second day.

Marist Catholic has agreed to play host to the tennis tournament. Adding a second day would help with scheduling.

"Tennis is real difficult to do in one day because typically it's been three days," Mulkey said. "So there may have to be some give and take."

Mulkey praised schools for their spirit of cooperation. It is a continuation of the Season 2 culminating week, when several schools stepped up to play host to multiple neutral-site contests.

"They didn't have to do that, but they knew it was the right thing to do," Mulkey said. "They came through and helped us out. I woke up Saturday morning (April 10) and I texted our entire culminating week committee, and I said, 'Gentlemen, it's a good day in the 4A classification.'"

— Jerry Ulmer writes for OSAAtoday.


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