Oregon's High School Sports Source
- Written by DRH
- Published on April 19, 2009
- Hits: 725
1 Thurston 5-0
2 North Eugene 3-2
3 Churchill 2-3
3 Springfield 2-3
3 Willamette 2-3
6 Marshfield 1-4
#1 Thurston (10-4, 5-0) has asserted their dominance over the MWL, running their record out to 5-0 as we reach the 1/3 mark of the league season.
We all knew that the Colt offense was going to be among the best in 5A this year, but the pitching has been what’s set Thurston apart from everybody else in the early going.
Thurston used four different starting pitchers (remember that a 0-0 game through 9 innings against North Eugene didn’t “count”, but we’re sure as heck going to count it) in their six games this season against MWL opponents, and they’ve given up 5 runs… combined… over those six games. Whether its Chris Reed shutting down North Eugene and Willamette, Brooks Chapman against North Eugene (in relief in the rematch) and Marshfield, or Skip Spencer tossing a 4 hit shutout against Springfield and then shutting out Churchill through five, the pitching staff hasn’t missed a beat in life after Darrell Hunter.
Thurston beat Willamette 13-1, Marshfield 2-0, and Churchill 9-1 this week.
#2 North Eugene (9-6, 3-2) bounced back in a big way from their 0-2 MWL start. After falling 6-3 to Thurston in the opener and dropping a 4-3 shocker to Marshfield on the coast, North regrouped (and sent Tim Keller to the mound twice) in week two with wins over Springfield, Churchill, and Willamette to get back over .500.
If you want to talk pitching staffs, North can add just as much juice to the fire as Thurston: with Keller throwing on Mondays and Fridays, and freshman Andrew Moore on Wednesdays, scoring any runs against the Highlanders is going to be a chore. Hence the final scores from this week: North Eugene 1, Springfield 0; North Eugene 1, Churchill 0; North Eugene 3, Willamette 1.
You have to wonder about the offense, but with pitching like that, you don’t have to worry too much. And we still have ten games to go before the playoffs, so there’s plenty of time to get the bats figured out before an extended playoff run.
Not that it’s much of a secret, but lets get the easy stuff out of the way: Thurston and North are going to take the #1 and #2 seeds in this league. They’re pretty much in a league of their own. But as I said last week, there’s still a tremendous amount of intrigue both in their two-team race for the MWL title, and the four other teams and their race for the #3 seed.
Three of those teams went 1-2 this week:
Churchill beat Marshfield 10-0 on Tuesday, but ran into the two-headed monster atop the league on Wednesday and Friday and dropped a 1-0 decision to North, and a 9-1 game to Thurston.
Springfield beat Marshfield 7-3 on Friday, but lost a heartbreaking 1-0 pitcher’s duel to North on Monday, and was upended 6-5 by Willamette on Wednesday.
Willamette, like Churchill, had the misfortune of playing both Thurston and North this week, but they did beat Springfield to avoid an 0-fer.
Marshfield lost their three outings this week.
So, a third of the way through this thing, we have three teams tied for the third and final playoff berth, and Marshfield a game back.
North bounced back in a big way and is pitching lights out. Thurston’s won 17 straight MWL games. The two meet at Swede Johnson Monday. If Thurston wins, the MWL race is all but over. If North wins, they pull within a game of the Colts and can still gain the tiebreaker in the final meeting. Be there.