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Sweet Home, Oregon
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May 23, 2012     The New Era Paper
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1t t, .ra - May 23, 2012 Page 9 SPORTS i Huskies blow by Central in 14-1; to face North Valley By Sean C. Morgan and Scott Swanson Of The New Era Sweet Home blew through the first round of the state 4A baseball playoffs Friday, May 18, dispatching Central 14:1 in five innings under the 10-run rule during a play-in game at the Huskies' home field. "Heck of a game," said Coach Matt Matuszak. "We're feeling really good. We're very confident. We're very comfortable. We're playing really well right now." The Huskies advance to the next round at North Valley in Grants Pass at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Central got its only score in the first inning, when lead-off batter Wes Riddel doubled and then crne home on a single by Brandon Cutsforth. That was when Sweet Home pitcher Justin Rice settled down and effectively shut down the Panthers through the next four innings, allowing only four hits through the fourth inning as his teammates built their 14-1 lead. Four of the Huskies' first five batters, Jeremy White, Austin Rice, Hunter Bidwell and Kyle Winslow, scored in the bottom of the first to give Rice a 40 lead. Rice, Bidwell and Colton Holley added three more in the second inning finishing off Cutsforth, Central's starter. Sweet Home batted through the order, scoring six runs in the Justin Rice delivers during his win- ning effort on the mound. third, then finishing off Central with two more in the fourth. The Panthers mounted their only serious challenge in the top of the fifth, loading the bases after Rice struck out lead-off hitter Nick Jandl. But after their second batter, Riddel, got thrown out at second, Rice finished them off with a strikeout of Andrew Hasbrook for the win - those two his only strikeouts of the game. J. Rice pitched a complete game, striking out two batters, hitting two batters and giving up two walks and three hits. Rice just set a school record for league earned run average, .68; and it was the best ERA in the conference. At bat, White went 1-2 with two runs; Christian Voldbaek, 1-2, with two runs; Bidwell, 3-4, with a double, two runs and three RBIs; J. Rice, 1-3, with two runs and an RBI; Nate Melcher, 2-3; Cory Hanks, 1-3, with a run and an RBI; and Holly, 1-1, with two runs. A. Rice scored two runs. "Our kids just did a great job preparing," Matuszak said. The Huskies put together a game plan knowing what type of pitching they would see. "It was the most focused we've been all year," he said, and his team brought a lot of fire and intensity. The Huskies settled down quickly after a couple of early errors. "We just went down and practiced hard all week," Bidwell said. "We had to win it. We came out and played the best baseball we've played all year. We got up, and we just kept going, and going and going. The team is feeling good about the win, Bidwell said, and they think North Valley is beatable. Looking ahead, Matuszak said he has good scouting reports for North Valley. North Valley is a good team, which played in the state champ',onships last year, Matuszak Photos by Scott Swanson Colton Holly slideS home for a score during Sweet Home's 14-1 win over Central Friday. For many more photos see the Baseball Photo Gallery at sweethomenews.com. said, but that's not fazing his team. "If we play the way we did Friday, we could beat anybody," Matuszak said. North Valley is a power team that doesn't play much small ball. The Knights make their living off doubles, extra-base hits and homeruns. "We're going to have to keep the ball down in the zone, rely on some off-speed and keep them off balance a bit," Matuszak said. "I think we've got a good chance to beat them. We're just going to have to play our game, which is more small-ball. Our goal is to some pressure on them, make them make mistakes." "Our mental focus is really good," BidweH said. "This game is going to be a lot about mentality." Central 100 00 - 1 3 2 Sweet Home 435 20 - 14 11 3 Huskies down S tayton to earn softball playoffs date at Cascade The Huskies narrowly defeat- ed Stayton, 2-1, Thursday at home in the play-in round of state soft- ball playoffs. The Huskies advance in the playoffs at Cascade at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Stayton eliminated the Hus- kies from playoffs last year. Stayton had its tying run at third in the .seventh inning, but a tough Huskies defense stopped the Eagles just in time. "It was awesome," said Coach Casey Humphrey. "It was an ex- citing game to be a part of and to watch. We got a run in the first, which was very big for us." "It was a really close game," said Emili Riggs. "It was really fun too. I'm felling really good right now. Our defense was amazing." With two outs, third hitter Megan Gravilie walked and then advanced to second on a pass ball, Humphrey said. Riggs hit the ball down the right field line tO score Graville. In the fourth, Riggs led off, reaching base on an error, Hum- Pitcher Megan Graville scoops up a bunt and tosses the ball to first to nail a Stayton runner. For many more photos see the Softball Photo Gal- lery at sweethomenews.com. phrey said. Megan Rubidoux bunt- ed her to second. With two outs, Sierra Thayer sent a base hit right field to score Riggs. Stayton scored in the sixth, Humphrey said. In the seventh, Stayton led with a base hit. The next hitter tried three times to bunt and advance the runner, but Graville struck her out. The next batter hit a double left field, and Shantel Pitts bobbled the ball a little then threw out the first runner at third. With one on second and two outs, Stayton had a single that loaded first and third; but Graville struck out the next batter and fin- ished the game. At bat for the Huskies, Hailey Hummer went 1-3. Riggs went 1-3 with an RBI. Thayer went 1-2 with an RB1. Hitting for Stayton were Jenna Leimbach, Katie Cozart Ashley Callahan and Tietrok. Cassie Cruz and Lindsay Hill hit doubles. In the circle, Graville struck out three batters, one in the sixth and two in the seventh, and walked none. Riggs caught. "I'll tell you what, she had simply one of the most impressive games I've ever seen," Humphrey said. Graville's glove was "dyna- mite," she took care of five or six potential hits with that glove. Cruz pitched for Stayton, strik- ing out 10 and walking one. Jordyn Sunghera caught. Looking forward, Humphrey is confidence about Cascade. The Huskies played Cascade on May 15 and lost 9-7. They had a bad opening and Photos by Scott Swanson Emili Riggs scores Sweet Home's second run ahead of the throw to home in the Huskies'play-in victory over Stayton. gave up five runs, he said, but they had a great fifth inning and scored six. "They are a very good ten, back-to-back state champions," Humphrey said. The Cougars are well-coached, tough opponents. But the Huskies can handle it, he said. "We've gotten to the point (down to 16 teams) everybody's in reach. We are all good at this point." The Huskies will need another good showing from Graville, Hum- phrey said. At bats, the Huskies will focus on small ball and speed on bases, while playing fundamen- tal defense with no mental errors. "It's very exciting," Humphrey said. "I'm very excited where we're at. We're all believing in ourselves. We could do this." Stayton has defeated Cascade this year, he noted. "If we have another pitch- ing game like that and-good hits, I think we can beat anybody," Riggs said. Against Cascade, the Huskies had one bad inning. Take it away, and it was a win. They'll need to play the same great defense with the same phe- nomenal pitching, Riggs said. "It's just whoever can get the timing." The Huskies also played Leba- non last week, on May 14, winning 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth," Humphrey said. Stayton 000 001 0 - 1 6 1 Sweet Home 100 100 x - 2 3 1