Oregon's High School Sports Source
- Written by DRH
- Published on March 29, 2009
- Hits: 811
Thurston (3-3) played four games over Spring Break down in Arizona as part of the Coach Bob NIT; a large, 20-odd team tournament featuring schools from across the country. Three of the games – a 13-6 loss to Tolleson (AZ), an 8-2 win over Juneau-Douglas (AK), and a 14-3 win over Willow Canyon (AZ) – probably don’t mean much to the average fan, given the unfamiliarity with the opponents.
But a name you will recognize is 6A power Jesuit, who beat the Colts 14-13 in a pitching-optional slugfest featuring two of the better teams from the state of Oregon (ironically meeting in Arizona). Would have loved to have seen that one.
What to take from the tournament? Thurston got to match up with some pretty solid competition, and the bats came alive for the first time this season. You knew they would, but at least now you can say it finally happened. 41 runs in 4 games isn’t too shabby.
Thurston goes against 6A Roseburg (Monday), 6A South Eugene (Thursday), and 4A Pleasant Hill (Friday) this week. Roseburg gave Thurston their worst defeat of the season last year (10-0), whereas the Colts beat SE and Pleasant Hill twice apiece in ’08.
North Eugene (4-3) had themselves a great week.
They started things out with a 2-1 loss to 6A Southridge at the Tigard Tournament, but rebounded later that afternoon with a 3-2, extra inning win over the host school. They met up with 6A South Medford two days later and walked away 5-4 winners, then beat West Albany 6-3 the following day.
Solid week put in by the Highlanders. Southridge, Tigard, and South Medford are all quality 6A schools. West Albany is one of the better 5A programs. Going 3-1 is mighty impressive.
Ace Tim Keller made his presence known at the plate, hitting a home run against SM and again against West Albany.
Churchill (1-5) had a trying week, but the competition was stiff.
Playing four road games in three days, the Lancers started their week off with a 5-0 loss to West Albany, a 5A semifinalist from a year ago. They lost 10-5 at North Medford a day later, a 6A semifinalist from a year ago. Churchill wrapped up their week with a double header against 6A Grants Pass, dropping both games (9-3, 14-4).
Not many teams would get through a week like that unscathed, and Churchill took one on the chin.
Churchill sticks with the 6A theme this week, traveling to Roseburg (Tuesday), and hosting Sheldon (Wednesday).
Willamette (4-4) was swept in a double header at South Medford – 10-0 and 12-11 – then took out the brooms themselves in a double-header at Madison – 13-10 and 12-0.
Still don’t have a good read on Will-Hi. Outside of the back-end of their double header with Madison, they haven’t really put together a solid game at the plate and on the mound. They seem to get a great pitching performance, but struggle at the plate. Or they crank up the bats, but struggle to get outs. They’re a young team with a lot of potential, though.
The Wolverines go 4A heavy next week, hosting Junction City (Tuesday) and North Bend for a double header (Saturday). Sandwiched in-between is a road date at 6A Sheldon (Friday).
Springfield (5-1) continued its impressive start by going 2-1 this week.
The Millers took part in the three day Les Schwab Classic in John Day, opening with a 10-6 win over 4A Molalla. They met up with 4A Sutherlin the next day and walked away as 11-1 winners. Dallas got the best of them in the finale, 3-1, but Springfield still has to be pleased with their hot start.
In comparison, Springfield started out last year 1-10.
Marshfield (1-2) didn’t play this week. They’ll be in action twice next week -- at North Bend (Tuesday) and at Siuslaw (Friday).
North Eugene and Churchill went 6A heavy, and should be better later in the season because of it. North passed their test with flying colors. Thurston very well might have done the same, but it’s tough to tell because we’re not overly familiar with the competition outside of Jesuit. We know that Springfield is taking care of business against teams they should beat, which is the sign of a good team. Willamette looks hot and cold, whereas Marshfield remains an enigma. One more week of non-league games to go before MWL play ramps up.
Rating the MWL
1. North Eugene. Got to give them credit for beating some of the state’s best. They have the best pitcher in the state in Tim Keller, and an outstanding freshman #2 starter.
2. Thurston. They’re still probably the favorites, but they didn’t quite have the week NE did.
3. Springfield. Granted, the schedule hasn’t been as strong as the other MWL schools. But they’re winning.
4. Churchill. The wins aren’t there, but do you blame them? Their test will come in-league.
5. Willamette. Certainly in the mix for the final playoff berth.
6. Marshfield. Took a week off.