Glencoe topples Roseburg in the semifinals to set up a showdown against North Medford for the 6A title

Glencoe is going HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Glencoe senior Katie Sutherland-Finch celebrates with teammate Kylie Surratt during last Friday's 3-0 win over league rival Tualatin in the Class 6A state quarterfinals.

Back to the state championship game, that is.

In the latest of a string of well-played state playoff games, the Crimson Tide downed Roseburg 5-2 on the road in a Tuesday semifinal matchup to earn a berth in Saturday’s Class 6A championship game. Glencoe is slated to face reigning state champion North Medford at 1 p.m. at the OSU Softball Complex in Corvallis.

“I feel like we did good things, like we put the ball in play and strung together a couple hits at opportune times, so I think that was really important for us,” Glencoe coach Jacy Jukkala said Tuesday evening about the semifinal HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Glencoe junior Kylie Surratt connects for one of her two home runs last Friday in a 3-0  victory over Tualatin in the Class 6A state semifinals.

The title game will be the first for Glencoe at the Class 6A level. In 2010, the Tide knocked off city rival Century to win a 5A championship after three consecutive runner-up finishes. The Pacific Conference champions were knocked out in the 6A quarterfinals in 2011 and 2012.

Current seniors Katie Sutherland-Finch and Morgan Brown were a part of that 2010 championship team and will now close out their high school careers with a shot at bookend titles.

On Tuesday, Sutherland-Finch was her usual masterful self in the pitcher’s circle. She had a no-hitter going in the seventh inning, when the Indians scored their two runs. In all, Sutherland-Finch yielded just two hits, and she fanned 13 to go along with two walks and one hit batter.

At the plate, Glencoe (28-1) knocked seven hits off of Roseburg pitcher Makinna Akers, who will play for Boston University next year. The Tide got two of those hits in the third inning to plate their first run.

Emilee Eastman reached base with a single to right field and moved to second on Kamryn Apling’s sacrifice bunt. Then, Macy Besuyen knocked a base hit up the middle to send Eastman home for the first run of the game.

“Honestly, scoring that first run was huge,” Jukkala said. “I think that just kind of gave us a little bit of momentum, because Makinna’s a great pitcher.”

The significance of the production by Eastman and Apling, Glencoe’s No. 8 and 9 hitters, was not lost on Sutherland-Finch.

“When you can have your bottom of the lineup set up and produce, so that your top lineup can hit them in, it makes the game so much easier,” she said. “Our team is very diverse in our hitting, and I was very proud of the focus they’ve been bringing, and hopefully on Saturday we’ll bring that.”

The Tide doubled their leadin the fifth inning. With one out, Brown notched an infield single but was out at second on Courtney Clayton’s grounder into a fielder’s choice. Sutherland-Finch then reached base on an error, and Kylie Surratt’s RBI single to right field scored Clayton.

Three more runs in the top of the seventh provided some breathing room. Brown reached base when her pop fly was dropped for an error, and then Clayton reached base on a throwing error that allowed Brown to score. Then, after Sutherland-Finch drew a walk, Clayton scored the Tide’s fourth run on a wild pitch by Akers during Surratt’s at-bat. The team capitalized on another error to score its final run when Lauren Messmer reached base and Misty Wilson, Sutherland-Finch’s courtesy runner, made it home.

Roseburg (22-7) scored its runs on a throwing error and an RBI single by Ashley Martin to right field. But Sutherland-Finch got her final strikeout of the contest on Ashley King to end the threat and the game.

The team celebrated with a postgame victory dinner at Applebee’s before rolling back into town late on Tuesday night.

Glencoe enters Saturday’s championship contest on a 25-game win streak that started with a 4-3 win against North Medford (28-2) back on March 25 at the North Medford Spring Break Invitational. The Tide have outscored their opponents 22-5 in four playoff games — during which Surratt and Maria Dendinger have been particularly potent at times.

Dendinger accounted for four of Glencoe’s runs in a 7-3 second-round win against Forest Grove on last Wednesday, thanks to two sacrifice flies and a two-run home run. Surratt had a single and a double in that game. And in a 3-0 victory against Tualatin in last Friday’s quarterfinal round, Surratt hit a home run in the fourth inning and another in the sixth for the first and third scores.

As for the rematch against the Black Tornado — who knocked out Lincoln 2-0 in their semifinal on Tuesday — it could well be a barnburner. Both teams have spent the season occupying the top two spots in the OSAA rankings. The Tide will have to deal with North Medford ace Maryssa Becker, the Louisville-bound reigning Class 6A pitcher of the year.

“We’re really excited,” Clayton said. “That’s been our goal all year, is to make it to state, and it’s so exciting that we get to play another game together with the seniors and with our team.”

Sutherland-Finch, for one, is looking forward to seeing how it all ends.

“It’s hard to explain the chemistry of our team, because it is very much that dream team of we have our spicy personalities, and we have our sweethearts and we have our aggressive people,” Sutherland-Finch said. “But overall, we’ve meshed really well. We bring out the best in each other on the field.

“I feel like this team is a more cohesive unit than the team I had my freshman year, and I have a lot of confidence that as a team, we’ll go in and put our best foot forward at state.”

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