SMALL TOWN GIRLS DO GOOD
PARKROSE The Union County Seniors showed the girls from the big cities that they can play ball in small towns, too.
"We're the state champions," coach Dick Griffin announced after Union County's 6-1 victory over Corvallis-Albany Tuesday.
The girls who hail from Cove, Union and Imbler rode Savannah Wilhelm's arm to victory. She went the distance, allowing just three hits and three walks, while striking out seven.
Griffin also credited the team's defense. Union County didn't make a single error in the game.
"This was our best game by far. Ten hits, a three-hitter and no errors," said Griffin.
"It was a good all-around team effort. Everyone contributed," Griffin said.
After the girls won, there wasn't a huge celebration. That just isn't the personality of this team, said Griffin.
"They're such cool customers. They don't get too fired up well, they got a little fired up after," said Griffin. "It was like another day at the office."
Along the way to the state championship, the girls beat squads from bigger towns such as Pendleton, Corvallis, Albany and Portland. These communities had far bigger pools of talent to draw from than Union, Cove and Imbler.
The girls move on to Sectionals, playing in a round-robin tournament this weekend at Parkrose against state champions from Alaska and Washington. The girls start with a game against the Alaskan champs Friday.
The girls will play Alaska and Washington twice, then the two teams with the best records will move on to a championship game.
Wilhelm found herself in a pitchers' duel for much of Tuesday's game. Union County was locked in a 1-1 tie after four innings.
Then, Corvallis-Albany changed pitchers, and Griffin said, "we unloaded in the fifth inning."
The two big blows for Union County were a two-run double by Mandy Griffin and a two-run base hit by Carrie Stratton.
Kara Mann had two hits, and Katie Griffin had two hits, including a double. Mandy Griffin ended up with two doubles.
Christina McGilvray, Shelbi Williams and Talia Bunkers also had hits.
Other members of the state championship squad are Keri Reynolds, Maddy Moore, Shea Bauer and Taylor Christman.
If the girls win at Sectionals, they would move on to Regionals, held in Chico, Calif.