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North Marion halts tournament after a La Grande baseball team member tests positive.

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - A positive COVID test result from a member of the La Grande baseball team prompted North Marion to cancel the Legion A state tournament out of an abundance of caution.

AURORA — The Oregon American Legion A state tournament hosted at North Marion High School's Bob Brack Stadium from Aug. 4-8 was cancelled on Saturday, Aug. 7, due to a positive COVID-19 test result from a member of the La Grande baseball program, according to North Marion Berries baseball coach Tucker Brack.

According to Brack, La Grande baseball coach Parker McKinley notified tournament officials about a positive test result at 1 p.m. on Aug. 7. By 1:30 p.m. Brack, North Marion High School athletic director Mark Sundquist and superintendent Ginger Redlinger made the decision to cancel the tournament.

"North Marion … was on top of it, and (it was) not an easy decision," Brack told the Independent. "Sometimes the hard decisions are the right ones, and it became the right decision in my opinion. I was 100 percent behind them. I got ahold of the new AD, and La Grande was super transparent about it and up front right away and didn't hide from it." According to an email from Redlinger, North Marion baseball coach Randy Brack informed all North Marion players' parents of potential exposure, and Sundquist reported the possible exposure to the Oregon School Activities Association, Oregon Health Authority, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Marion County Health and Human Services.

The state tournament consisted of eight teams, North Marion included. The Berries played La Grande on Friday, Aug. 6, narrowly losing a 7-6 contest. The players and coaches will not be required to undergo testing, according to Brack. However, he indicated that doesn't mean they shouldn't be diligent.

"(If) the kids don't feel well, then they go get tested," Brack said.

North Marion ran up a 2-1 record in the double elimination state tournament bracket, beating the Alpenrose Redsox on Wednesday, Aug. 4, and Beaverton/Sunset Sockeyes on Thursday, Aug. 5. The Berries were scheduled to play the Eugene OLE Athletics the day of the cancellation. Brack was pleased with the way his team performed against the top A teams in the state.

"I thought the last three nights are probably the best baseball we have played all year, including school ball," Brack said. "We've really been starting to play well in the last month, I would say, but the last three nights, I mean we just played phenomenal. Everybody. All the little parts of the game, everything."

COVID-19 cases in Marion County are once again on the rise with a seven-day average of 69 new cases, as compared to one month ago, when the seven-day average was 17 new cases. Union County, La Grande's county, saw a significant jump in its seven-day average from two new cases to 13 new cases.

A previous edition of this story incorrectly identified the athletic director. That has been corrected.


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