Losses could bolster prospects for teams
There were some setbacks for the Scappoose and St. Helens softball teams this past week, but its not the end of the season and there are still a lot of games to play.
The Lady Indians gave top-ranked Banks a run for their money in a hard-fought albeit nasty-weather game on Friday.
Under a steady Oregon drizzle, the two teams battled for nine innings. The Lady Indians got homers from Cassidy Hoglund and Lexi Courtney to knot the score. Courtneys game tier came right after what might have been a double or triple, except for an excellent catch by the Banks center fielder. Take away that catch and they would have won the contest.
Despite a valiant effort, Banks scored three runs in the ninth and that seemed to drain Scappoose in the bottom of the frame. They went quietly after that.
Banks was back on Monday and put up a big eight-run third inning to do in Scappoose.
The two losses probably took away any chance for Scappoose to win the league title. Banks may not lose that many. Even if they should lose one to Yamhill-Carlton and to Scappoose in their third meeting, its still a tie and Banks already has the tie-breaker.
The Cowapa League has just three teams that are credible for the top three spots in the league: Banks, Scappoose, and Yamhill-Carlton. Seaside, Astoria, and Tillamook probably wont be in the picture. Its unlikely any of them will beat Banks. Yamhill-Carlton has already lost once to Banks, and Scappoose has lost to them twice. They have two games with YC left and one with Scappoose. Banks needs at most two wins in those games to clinch the title. YC and Scappoose also have to play three games and winning all three may be tough for either.
The Lady Indians bounced back to down Seaside 12-2 in a five-inning game on Tuesday. Theyve still got a lot of ball to play and their hitting is improving.
In St. Helens, the Lady Lions had a tough stretch of games over the past week. They had to come from behind to beat Sherwood in a make-up on a rainy Thursday, and then travel to Sandy for a crucial game Friday night.
That game was played in the cold and rain, in the evening. Sandy had every advantage and St. Helens couldnt overcome the two runs the Pioneers scored. It was a long drive for St. Helens and an even longer drive home.
The team took another downturn on Tuesday with an error-ridden loss to Wilsonville. It was a game St. Helens needed to keep their Northwest Oregon Conference title hopes high. Its certainly still reachable, but they cant play as poorly as they did Tuesday and expect to win league.
The good news for St. Helens is that they are still ranked ahead of both Sandy and Wilsonville in the standings. As of Wednesday afternoon, they were in fourth. That could change as they play some of the more poorly ranked teams in the league, but for state playoff purposes, ranking are more important.
Unlike the 4A classification, the 5A play-offs are determined solely by ranking. In 4A, league champions get a bye from the play-in games. In 5A, the top eight ranked teams get the bye. The teams ranked ninth through 24th have a play-in game.
Going into Wednesdays game with low-ranked Milwaukie (36th of 37), the Lady Lions had four games they should be favorites in. Then they have a round of three pretty tough games.
St. Helens has to get their game back on track, not make as many mistakes as they did Tuesday, and take care of business. If they can do that, they will be fine. They may not finish league play where they want to finish, but theyll be among the leaders and could end up pretty high in the rankings.
The Lady Lions shouldnt despair. They are a very young and very talented team. They have three freshman and six sophomores on the squad, and just three juniors and one lone senior.
The two losses, each for a different reason, should serve as good object lessons in what can happen when you lose focus.
I think both St. Helens and Scappoose are going to be just fine by the end of the season.