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Teams persevere through rain and shine

St. Helens softball, Scappoose baseball among state's best teams
by: Self-portrait, Sports Editor John Brewington

Coaches of good teams like to prepare for their opponents, have the right rotation for their pitching staff, and work on offensive and defensive plays in practice. It hasn't been a very good year for that.

I was talking with my wife, the lovely Cynthia Sunday night about what a miserable spring this has been. She pointed out that we've only really had two nice days. And those came on a weekend. Our raised beds for vegetables are filled with grass and weeds and we haven't really found the right time to do something about it.

It seems to rain on weekdays much more than it's dry. The pre-season was just about over before some teams could get outside.

In a way, it's been something of a lost season for squads. Even those with turf fields have been rained out. It's not easy to book one on semi-dry days either.

Credit has to be given to those teams that have found success with playing conditions as tough as they have been.

The St. Helens Lady Lions' softball team has moved up a notch into the upper levels of the tough Northwest Oregon Conference. If you don't think the conference is rough, consider that going into last Friday's games there were four teams with just one loss. Part of that is because some of the higher teams haven't been able to play their games.

St. Helens lost for the second time to Sandy to drop a game back in the race, but they are still very much in it. Coach Jeff Edwards says the team has a good attitude, knows how tough the league is, and has had quite a bit of success. Their attitude is never say die. That's how they beat Rex Putnam, one of the premier 5A teams in the state.

The pair was to meet again in St. Helens on Tuesday, weather permitting, of course. Putnam is likely to be out for blood, but the Lady Lions are likely to be unimpressed.

The funny thing for some conferences is that the eventual league champion may not even get the highest seed for the 'play-in' games. Say if St. Helens were to win out and win the conference, they would only be the third or fourth team in the rankings. It could mean in the state playoffs after the play-in round that they wouldn't get a home game. That's already happened. I've been told that may change, but haven't heard it officially yet.

Down in Scappoose, the Indians baseball team picked up three wins last week and is headed for a showdown with Astoria this Wednes-day. The two teams each have two losses in league and will more than likely finish first and second. The good news for Scappoose is that they have beaten Astoria twice. If they finish the season tied, Scappoose will have the tiebreaker.

The Indians have been ranked first in the power rankings for most of the year, but this week they slipped into second. They're only a point behind Philomath and playing Astoria on Wednesday should help.

That's another problem with the rankings. A team can win against a much lower ranked team, and it will drop in the rankings. A team can lose to a highly ranked team and actually move up in the rankings. It's based not only on the team's winning percentage, but also on their opponent's winning percentage, and their opponent's winning percentage. It takes a computer program to figure it out.

Still the Indians, whether they win or lose Wednesday's game are likely to have home games as long as they are in the playoffs.

The team could hardly get outside early in the season, and it took a spring break road trip for them to start to gel. They have a good chance of doing well this in the playoffs-weather permitting.