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Home arrow Sports arrow Columns arrow HARDER: Special District 6 evaporates before the softball season starts

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HARDER: Special District 6 evaporates before the softball season starts

All good things must come to an end, so they say.

While most of Oregon was watching the classification changes next year very closely, it was easy to miss changes that would affect this season. 

In a series of moves, Special District 6 has been disbanded. Who was in this league? Essentially it was the Blue Mountain Conference with a Star Trek Borg identification code — six of six. I still don’t understand why the OSAA is taking away the names of leagues, but that’s another topic for another day. 

Not that long ago SD6 was a softball powerhouse. Even last season with just one team finishing over the .500 mark, that team, Union/Cove, went on to win the state title. 

Special District 6 owns three of the last seven state titles. Elgin/Imbler won the title in 2007, while Union/Cove brought home another title in 2008. Union/Cove also grabbed a second-place finish in 2009 — falling to Irrigon, 1-0. 

As a sidebar, Eastern Oregon has dominated softball over the last seven seasons. Add in the fact that Irrigon won the title in 2009, Pilot Rock brought home the title in 2010 by defeating Irrigon, and Heppner/Ione brought home the title in 2012 and it’s a pretty impressive run by the schools on the east side.

But the battles between the fifth and the sixth districts are over.

It’s not the first time, though, that a team has strayed from the district.

During the 2008 season, Elgin/Imbler took a leave of absence from the district and played at the Class 3A level. Elgin/Imbler finished tied for first with Riverside in the Eastern Oregon League standings, and then won the league the following season. Elgin/Imbler returned to SD6 for the 2010 season — finishing third. 

Some of the best pitchers in the state over the last decade have come out of the district during its run. Back when the Bobcats, Huskies and Cubs were competing against each other, it was often a display of dominant pitching. Pitching duels reigned supreme when the teams played each other. 

Union/Cove had Jessica Reynolds. Elgin/Imbler had Tara Ludwig, while Enterprise/Joseph had Andrea Schaefer.   

But now, like those players that have graduated and left the area, the teams of SD6 have scattered. 

Union/Cove joined the other powers from the east side at the Class 2A level. The Bobcats will be playing with Irrigon and Heppner/Ione in Special District 5. 

Elgin/Imbler and now Enterprise/Joseph/Wallowa will head to the Eastern Oregon League. 

Former members Pine Eagle and Adrian have vanished off the landscape of softball. Although the OSAA lists the Antelopes as an independent this season, there is no schedule for them. But now, like those players who have graduated and left the area, the teams of SD6 have scattered. 

Union/Cove joined the other powers from the east side at the Class 2A level. The Bobcats will be playing with Irrigon and Heppner/Ione in Special District 5. 

The Bobcats are poised to make another run at the state title this season after losing just a few players from last season’s title team. 

Elgin/Imbler and now Enterprise/Joseph/Wallowa will head to the Eastern Oregon League. 

Former members Pine Eagle and Adrian have vanished off the landscape of softball. Although the OSAA lists the Antelopes as an independent this season, there is no schedule for them. 

It just won’t be quite the same covering the teams this season. The rivalries will be different — the Union-Elgin battle always added an extra edge to the story. 

It was a great run, and a pleasure to watch. Personally witnessing all three state championship games at the Oregon State softball complex in Corvallis was something to see. 

At least we’ll have the memories.  So at least we have that going for us, which is nice.

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