Southridge shortstop going to OSU

Shae Nelson and Maryssa Becker go way back.

The Southridge shortstop and North Medford pitcher engaged in a four-year tug-of-war effort, which culminated at the Oregon 6A State-Metro Senior All-Star Series on Monday. The Black Tornado knocked out Nelson's Skyhawks twice in the state playoffs, though the shortstop is quick to point out that Southridge beat North Medford at its own spring break tournament last year.

“It was a little deja vu out there,” said Nelson. “It's different because you're always competing with each other, but you still have to be welcoming. It's more fun than competitive, and we can relax and just play the game.”

Becker got Nelson to ground out in the third inning of the Metro's 6-0 loss to the State team, but the former Skyhawk said she enjoyed squaring off one last time on the high school level. She liked playing for the same team as Aloha's Kiana Wood and Beaverton's Mackenzie Spencer, two more pitchers Nelson spent the season trying to get hits off of. Nelson had the Metro's lone RBI in the second game in an 8-1 defeat. by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ  - Southridge Highs Shae Nelson fields the ball for Team Metro against Team State during the 6A All Star Series at Rosemont Ridge Middle School in West Linn.

“It's fun because there's girls I've played with since I was 10 years old but never actually talked to,” said Nelson. “Now that we've actually been able to talk to each other and get to know each other, it's been fun playing together. It's fun to talk about our seasons and have our last game with each other.”

In the second round of this year's state playoffs, North Medford, the eventual 6A state champs, beat Southridge 7-0, and Nelson said she had to give props where props were due. Southridge beat Churchill in the play-in game, then upset Thurston in the second round.

“We feel like we could've done better, but North Medford is a really good team,” said Nelson. “There's no shame in losing to the state champions. We all feel we could've cut the score down with some of the mistakes that we made, but Maryssa's a really good pitcher.

“It's funny because it feels like we've played North Medford in the playoffs every year, but we hit off her before.”

Nelson said it was a challenging year for her and co-senior captain Britney Bradley who played right field for the Metro team on Monday. They were forced into being leaders, which Nelson said she loved. In the beginning of the season, the trial was pacifying the freshmen's anxieties and ensuring they were able to start and chip in.

“We were able to take on that leadership role, and we did what we could with what we had,” said Nelson. “We did really well considering the age of our team. We pulled through with that part. Brittney and I did well together and a lot of people stepped up.”

Nelson was raised as an Oregon Duck, but she's going to Oregon State to suit up for the up-and-coming Beavers next season. The left-handed hitting shortstop said she's going to Corvallis to work hard and see what happens from there. Nelson's pumped to see what she and former Skyhawk teammate Mackenzie Spencer can do together in the orange and black.

“I've loved the coaches, and when I went there, I just loved it,” said Nelson. “It's a really great program, and I'm excited to start and hope to make a difference.”

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