OC 12-U girls shine at state

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO The Oregon City Blues/Nightmare proved themselves one of the top 12-and-under fastpitch softball teams in the state in 2011, placing fifth at the Amateur Softball Association State 12-B Tournament. Members of the standout team included: (front, left to right) Taylre Matos and Katie Moon; (kneeling) Jadwyn Parrish, McKinzie McLeod, Megan Blackman and Megan White; and (standing) coach Christina McLeod, Lydia Daschel-Lloyd, Kendyl Kmetic, Kendall Krause, coach Chris Parrish, Courtney Williams, Sierra Lehman and head coach Shannon Kmetic.

BEAVERTON - The Oregon City Blues/Nightmare girls fastpitch softball team made an impressive run at the recent Oregon ASA State 12-U-B State Championship Tournament, winning six of eight games and placing fifth in the 34-team field.

After falling 19-6 to Salem Hi Voltage in their July 2 opener, the Blues won six straight losers bracket games to finish as one of the tournament's top teams.

The Blues followed up the loss to Hi Voltage with wins over Douglas County (10-2), Beaverton Blaze (11-10) and Oregon City Diamond Force (9-1) in games played on the same day as the loss.

The next day, on July 3, they defeated Keizer Lady Celts (6-5), Salem Push (7-6) and Forest Grove Rampage (14-3).

They then fell to the McMinnville Grizzlies 10-6 in a loser-out game early on the Fourth of July. The Grizzlies went on to finish second in the tournament.

'We were up 4-2 against the Grizzlies, but we ran out of gas,' said Blues assistant coach Chris Parrish. 'We hit the ball as well as the Grizzlies, but we weren't getting the timely hits. We left a lot of people on base. It was our eighth game of the weekend, and we just ran out of gas.'

Parrish said the Blues' biggest win of the state tournament was the 7-6 victory over Salem Push on Sunday afternoon.

'It was one of the best wins we had all season,' said Parrish. 'Salem Push was easily one of the top three teams in the state.'

The Blues scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth and then shut down the Push in the top of the seventh to pull out that victory. They scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to top the Beaverton Blaze, and they shut down a seventh-inning rally to hold off the Lady Celts.

'It was definitely a team effort,' said Parrish. 'We had kids out injured or playing injured all season, so we had kids playing out of position. But they continued to step up and get the job done….

'Every game we won we won as a team, and every game we lost, we lost as a team. It was a total team effort. They were a fantastic group of girls.'

Success is nothing new for this group of girls. Many of them played together two years ago on an Oregon City 10-U team that placed second at state, and nearly all of them played together a year ago.

They finished the 2011 season with a 27-14-2 record, with many of the losses coming against 'A' opponents. They won first place at invitational tournaments in Canby, Keizer and Newberg.

Players on the team included: Courtney Williams (outfield), Jadwyn Parrish (centerfield/second base), Katie Moon (catcher/infield), Kendall Krause (third base), Kendyl Kmetic (outfield), Megan Blackman (first base), Megan White (outfield), Taylre Matos (outfield/third base), McKinzi McLeod (pitcher/shortstop), Lydia Daschel-Lloyd (pitcher) and Sierra Lehman (utility).

McLeod is from Gladstone; Daschel-Lloyd and Lehman are from Milwaukie. All of the other girls on the team are from Oregon City.

Shannon Kmetic is head coach of the team. Parish and Christina McLeod are her assistants.

The team will be playing 14-B fall ball together beginning in September.