THREE YEARS IN THE MAKING
By Raenelle Kwock
Observer Staff Writer
Cheers erupted as soon as Union first baseman Jana Brotherton caught a pop up for the last out against Pilot Rock Saturday in the District 2A/1A Softball Tournament at Eastern Oregon University.
The catch not only meant the Union Bobcats won the 4-3 contest, but it also signaled the turnaround for the three-year program.
Union coach Steve Robertson said the team has worked very hard to reach this point.
"The girls deserve it," he said. "They worked so hard. Great team effort."
The Bobcats had won only one Eastern Oregon League game in each of its last two seasons. Union dominated the league this season racking up 11 wins and one loss.
"I'm so thrilled for the whole program," Robertson said.
The Bobcats captured the district top seed heading into the first round of the Class 2A/1A state playoffs. Union hosts Knappa Wednesday at 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $4 for students and $ 6 for adults.
Pilot Rock took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third off a passed ball and Allison Robles' RBI single.
"I knew Pilot Rock was solid," Robertson said.
The Bobcats clawed back in the top of the fifth with Mallory Wike's RBI single.
Pilot Rock errors enabled Union to rally in the top of the sixth for three runs.
Jana Brotherton reached base off an error by Pilot Rock's center fielder Ashley Erickson. She scooted safely to second.
Brotherton moved to third off DeeAnna Hall's sacrifice bunt.
Jaycee Waite's grounder was mishandled by Pilot Rock third baseman Karee Etter sending in Brotherton for the tying run.
The Bobcats got two more runs for a 4-2 lead. Pilot Rock made one last surge in the bottom of the seventh with one out.
Waite could not handle Marquita Aichele's bunt.
Then Sasser made an errant throw to second after Jo Pedro hit the ball right to her. Aichele moved to third.
Ashley Erickson's sacrifice fly to right scored Aichele as the throw home fell just out of Waite's glove.
"I was concerned but confident," Robertson said of Union's one-run lead.
Sasser regained her composure and got Rachael Howard to pop up to end the game.
Sasser led Union with three singles. She allowed six hits and had a season-low two strikeouts. Helmer had two singles.
Pine-Eagle defeated Culver 6-2 in the second game.
Pilot Rock bounced back in the third game beating Pine-Eagle 8-5. It received the district's No. 2 seed.
Union 000 013 0 4 10 2
Pilot Rock 002 000 1 3 6 2
Pedro and Perrine; Sasser and Waite. WP Sasser. LP Pedro.
Union hits Weitlauf, Robertson, Prince, Waite, Sasser 3, Helmer 2, Wike. RBI Wike.