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Franklin hopes to gain respect for PIL in playoffs

Franklin shortstop Jen Speakmon didn't need long to refocus on the softball state playoffs after the Quakers won the PIL title Thursday.

'I'm ready for state,' Speakmon said after the Quakers beat Benson 3-0 at Delta Park for their third straight Portland Interscholastic League title. 'I want to get past the second round and show that the PIL isn't trash like everyone says.'

Speakmon tripled and scored in the first inning to support the no-hit pitching of senior Holly Marlow as Franklin won the battle of teams tied for the league lead on the final day of the regular season.

Franklin finished the PIL season with a 17-1 record, losing only to Benson.

Speakmon says even girls she knew on teams in other leagues wouldn't put much weight in the Quakers' strong league record.

'We'll be talking about the playoffs, and they'll say, 'Oh, wait, you don't count because you're from the PIL,' ' says Speakmon, who is batting .435. 'It's really bad.

'So, I really want to get past the second round.'

Franklin won its first game in the state playoffs last year, beating Clackamas 3-1, then lost to McNary in the second round, a game in which it committed six errors.

The PIL's softball playoff history has been bleak the last three seasons. In those years, the league is 2-12 and has scored a total of nine runs in those games.

Franklin looked primed for playoff success against Benson. Marlow struck out 16 and didn't walk a batter. Benson got a base runner in the sixth only because of a Franklin mental error that was quickly erased.

Franklin will play Redmond or Hermiston in the first round Monday.

'I think our team gets pumped up as the games get more stressful,' says Marlow, whose season high is 19 strikeouts in a game. 'I think we're ready for the playoffs.'

Benson coach Katie Meyer says her team played well even in a losing cause.

'We're going to face pitchers like Holly from now on, so it's good we got a chance to hit against her,' Meyer says. 'Now we have to focus on the playoffs.'

Benson will play host to a team from the Three Rivers League on Monday. Wilson and Grant also qualified for the playoffs. Grant plays in the subtournament on Friday.

BASEBALL: Grant finished up the regular season with a 15-1 league record and won the PIL title for the first time in 12 years. The Generals will play the winner of a Friday subtournament game on Monday. Wilson, Lincoln and Cleveland also reached the playoffs. Cleveland will play in the subtournament Friday.

TRACK AND FIELD: Portland Christian completed an outstanding season by winning both the boys and girls titles at the Northwest League championships Saturday on its home track.

The Royals were unbeaten in boys and girls dual meets and then topped the scoring in both district meets. They also won a trophy for combined boys and girls scores.

Portland Christian senior Jake Buchanan had one of the top performances of the day, winning the 300-meter hurdles in a personal-best 42.4 seconds, which he says lowered his best time by two seconds. He also finished second in the 110 hurdles.

'I was within reach of winning on the turn, and I just got excited,' Buchanan says of the 300 hurdles.

The Royals also got a standout performance from freshman Kim Tippett, who won the 100, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and ran the anchor leg on the winning 4x400 relay team. She's among the favorites to win the 300 hurdles at the state meet Friday and Saturday at Western Oregon University.

Senior Ashley Fenison was a two-event winner in the pole vault and high jump.

De La Salle, a Portland school that is only 2 years old, had two freshmen win girls races. Tara Spencer won the 400 and Noel Briggs the 200.