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Confident Indians take No. 7 ranking into 4A postseason, first playoff contest

The excitement is building.

The Scappoose softball team has been working and playing all year for what's next — the Class 4A state playoffs.

The Indians will open with a first-round game at home on Wednesday.

It'll take four wins to claim the Class 4A championship. Scappoose is ranked seventh in the state, but who knows?

"We've had a goal of making it to state and winning state, and we've been going one game at a time," said senior catcher Gabie Krueger. "I'm definitely thinking it's a possibility."

The Indians won their 13th game in a row on Tuesday, downing 3A power Dayton 9-1 at Scappoose. Scappoose had one more tune-up game scheduled (Thursday at Roosevelt) before beginning its focus on the first-round matchup.

The Indians' mood was bright after their performance against Dayton, which included 14 hits and a collection of good catches and plays on defense.

"We just wanted to continue doing what we've been doing," Scappoose coach Nicole Feakin said. "It's working — why do anything else?"

Feakin complimented her players.

"I can't give them enough credit," she said. "This is Scappoose ball. This is how they play. They work very well together, all of them."

The Indians gave up a first-inning run to Dayton, but from the third frame on, everyone for Scappoose hit the ball hard and put constant pressure on the Pirates, who are ranked No. 1 in 3A by the Oregon School Activities Association.

One of the highlights for the Indians was senior right fielder Sandra Fry's two-run home run. It sailed over the left-field fence in the fifth inning.

"Once I heard it hit the bat, I was like, 'That's it. Yeah,'" she said.

It was Fry's third homer this season. She blasted two to center field, including a grand slam, in one inning against Tillamook.

"Once someone starts hitting on our team, we all start. We all feed off of it," Fry said. "We get each other pumped up. It's a nice little family."

Senior left-hander Nicole Dougherty went the distance against Dayton, giving up five hits and one unearned run.

"My teammates were on fire. They were amazing in the field and at bat," Dougherty said. "I couldn't ask for a better infield and outfield.

"They (the Pirates) were a good team and we really brought it to them."

The Indians did the same to the rest of the Cowapa League, taking the last two of three games against chief rival Banks as they stormed to the league title with a 14-1 record.

"How we performed during league was really, really good," Krueger said, "and it's just making it more exciting for me."

Fry said she's excited to open the playoffs at home.

"It's nice because we don't have to travel. I don't like riding the bus, especially long distances," she said.

Scappoose has been knocking on the door of a state championship in recent years. The Indians reached the quarterfinals last year, losing to the eventual state champion Henley. In 2016, Scappoose got to the semifinals before falling to eventual state champ Banks. The Braves also beat the Indians in the 2015 quarterfinals.

"We've had the opportunity to really go at it and take state, but we've never been able to push through. This year, I think it will be different," Dougherty said. "We've got the confidence and the team spirit, and our bats are on fire."

Payton Fisher, a junior who thwarted some early Dayton scoring threats with her fine catches in center field, said she is "really excited and looking forward to the playoffs. I think this is our year. We have the teamwork, the confidence, everything we need to succeed."

Fry pointed out that the Indians grew up playing softball, either against one another or together.

"We communicate and leave all our problems off the field," she said. "I think we work great together and I really enjoy playing with everyone."

The 4A tournament field looks deep in contenders. The top six teams in the rankings are La Grande (19-1), Junction City (24-1), Henley (22-5), Philomath (19-5), McLoughlin (16-9), Elmira (20-6), followed by Scappoose, South Umpqua (20-5) and Banks (19-5).

Maybe No. 7 will be lucky for Scappoose.

"I think we have a really good chance," Fry said. "If we keep the energy we've had, I think we'll go far."

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