Katie Sutherland-Finch leads the Crimson Tide to a second-place finish in the softball state playoffs

Katie Sutherland-Finch entered this spring with a state championship pedigree and an all-state designation already to her credit.

But she wasn’t even close to being done yet.

In her high school swan song, the Crimson Tide pitcher had a season to remember, going 25-2 and throwing 173.1 innings. She allowed 65 hits — an average of less than 2½ per game — and only 16 earned runs, posting a 0.65 ERA. At the plate, the Cal-bound senior was similarly effective. She recorded a .385 batting average and produced 30 hits, including a team-high six home runs.

Perhaps just as significant as her statistics, Sutherland-Finch was the Tide’s emotional leader, setting the team’s tone and shaping its philosophy, along with fellow senior and captain Morgan Brown.

“She’s the first one out there to be like, ‘Hey, no big deal. You made a mistake. Let it go. Let’s make the next play,’” Glencoe coach Jacy Jukkala said of Sutherland-Finch. “The team centers around her and feeds off her energy and her spirit.”

And with a powerful and composed team around her, Sutherland-Finch steered Glencoe to one of its best seasons in school history. The Tide went 29-2, won their third consecutive Pacific Conference title and made the Class 6A championship final, where they lost 2-1 to North Medford in eight innings.

Those are heights not often reached by Hillsboro schools. In fact, since Hilhi, Glencoe and Century moved up to Class 6A in the fall of 2010, the Tide became just the second team in any sport — boys or girls — to record a top-two finish in Oregon’s largest classification. (Century won the Class 6A softball title in 2011.)

Once again, Sutherland-Finch has been amply recognized for her play. She is the conference Pitcher of the Year and repeated as a first team all-state pick. Hers are sterling achievements. But her drive, leadership and beliefs about how to help a team thrive might be her most lasting legacy.

“How do I want these girls to remember me?” she said after the state finals. “I want them to remember me as someone that was on their ass, but also gave them opportunity to succeed and fail, and they had that support.”

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