JCLL girls key for combined softball team
Unique circumstances brought together a Little League all-star softball team, comprising seven girls from Sisters, four from Madras and two from Prineville.
In their own juniors Little League divisions, none of the three had enough girls to field a complete all-star team. So, rather than shorting them of a chance to play in the postseason, Oregon District 5 allowed the three to team up for the tournament in Redmond. Jefferson County Little Leaguers Hannah Holliday, Natalie Lockey, Shanti Rodriguez and Fiona White joined Sisters, which hadn't fielded a juniors all-star team in several years, as a result.
Although they sport the grey and black Sisters Outlaws colors, their caps coalesce the logos of Madras, Crook County and Sisters. Yet despite only practicing together for the last couple weeks, they had the look of the team that knew each other better.
"What we wanted to implement from the very beginning, was to get the girls to mesh and jell and get that family vibe," said manager Desmond Boots. "We knew going into this, if we didn't get that, and we had players out here playing as individuals, we wouldn't have success.
"They certainly wouldn't be where they're at today if they hadn't bonded. It's like they've been playing together all season."
Boots, along with assistant coaches Andrea White and Shad Sitz, watched as the girls got off to a torrid start Saturday with an 18-7 win over Redmond, which had narrowly defeated Warm Springs Nation earlier that morning.
Sisters grabbed the lead in the top of the second inning when leadoff batter Tatum Sitz batted in Madi Larrabee. Lockey followed with an RBI single down the third base line, and Holliday, batting in the third spot, hit a double, while Lockey scored from first base. The next at bat, with Holliday on third, Liz Barker blasted a two-run home run in left centerfield.
In the third inning, Holliday and Lockey each scored again to give Sisters a comfortable 8-0 lead.
Boots credited both Holliday, who started at first base, and Lockey, who started at third and later relieved Payden Petterson on the mound. He also praised White, who saw time in the outfield, and Rodriguez in her lone at bat for battling against a tough pitcher.
In the championship Monday morning, however, after Warm Springs Nation elimiminated Redmond from the tournament, and started a run of three consecutive wins.
Sisters and Warm Springs Nation faced off twice, with Warm Springs taking the first game 19-7, and the second 15-5, advancing them to the juniors state tournament in Keizer July 8.
Follow him on Twitter @MadrasSports, @WillCDenner