12A Oregon Breeze blows away state tournament field

The team recovers from a tourney-opening loss to win it all at 12A state
by: submitted photo THE BEST — The 12A Oregon Breeze poses with their trophy after winning the ASA state title.

JUNCTION CITY - The Oregon Breeze softball team blew through the 12A ASA softball state championships like nobody's business.

The Breeze, based in Beaverton, opened their tournament with a potentially devastating loss, but recovered like champions and won six straight games to take the state title. The tournament was held July 9-10 in Junction City.

After suffering a 3-1 first round loss to Salem's Lady Titans in their first game, the Breeze battled through six straight elimination games to take the title. To get to the championship game, the Breeze defeated Rip City 13-0, the Silver Bullets 8-0, Indians Fastpitch 8-3, then had to face the Titans again to advance to the championship, which they did 6-3.

In the title matchup, the Breeze had to beat the undefeated Rip Tide softball team twice to take the title. In the first game, the Breeze jumped to an early lead and never looked back, defeating the Tide 10-3.

But the second game proved to be a bigger battle. The Breeze had now played four games back-to-back in 90-degree weather and fatigue was beginning to set in.

The Rip Tide jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, then scored again in the second inning before the Breeze could get on the board. In the top of the third, the Breeze's Olivia Vasquez reached base on an error, took third on a single by Mary Schorn and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Abby Williams.

Heading into the top of the seventh inning, though, things weren't looking good for the Breeze, still trailing 3-1. Victorya Stallworth and Brooke Johnson led off with walks to force a Tide pitching change. The Rip Tide got one out, then saw Shelby Blasingame reach base on an overthrow that allowed Johnson to score.

The Rip Tide intentionally walked Samantha Danchok to load the bases, and Breeze lead-off batter Schorn followed with a fly ball to right field that was dropped, allowing Brooke Hansen (on base with a fielder's choice), Blasingame, and Danchok to score and take the lead 5-3.

Schorn advanced to third on the play, then scored her team's final run when Abby Williams laid down a sacrifice bunt. In the bottom of the seventh, the Rip Tide got a single to left field and a hit batter to put runners on first and second with one out, then a two-out single that cut the lead to 6-4.

But with runners on first and second, Breeze pitcher Bailey Marshall got the Tide hit a ground ball to Angie Harter at third base for the final out and the championship.

Highlights included: Marshall threw 26 innings with an 0.81 ERA; Stella Preston pitched 16 innings with a 1.75 ERA; Brooke Johnson caught all 42 innings; Harter had four triples and seven RBIs; and Schorn and Williams had seven RBIs each.

Vanessa Brown and Renee Crick also made contributions throughout for the Breeze, which was coached by Gary Hoops, Tracie Hansen and Mike Schorn.