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North Marion 2019 4A Special District 2 League Champs!

| October 26,2019

North Marion 2019 4A Special District 2  League Champs!

How big was Friday night for The North Marion Huskies? Well let’s start with the first outright league Football title, in at least 60 years. 

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2018 Premature Playoff Predictions, Week 4

Jeff Drumm | September 28,2018

2018 Premature Playoff Predictions, Week 4

It's time for another season of Premature Playoff Predictions. Much has changed about Oregon high school football in the past year, but I got my spreadsheets adjusted, and (assuming I didn't make any typos) I'm ready to start guessing at what will happen.   Game predictions are based on the Freeman rankings...

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NM/Woodburn- It's Back!

| September 13,2018

NM/Woodburn- It's Back!

What is Football without a great rival? One of the best ever is back in Northern Marion County! Photo Brent DeLaPaz Woodburn Independent Fall 1986- Pictured Woodburns Kit Cummings, and North Marions Kevin Pearson. Two good friends, who simply wore different uniforms.    The Woodburn/ North Marion rivalry, is one that stretches...

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You are here: Home Softball Menu / Archives Softball Recaps West Valley Rivals Meet for 3A Title The Third Year in a Row

Softball Menu / Archives

West Valley Rivals Meet for 3A Title The Third Year in a Row

Valley Catholic and Willamina Renew Rivalry; VC Eeks Out Another Title


HugTMSince realignment for the 2006-07 school year dropped Valley Catholic into 3A, and the already tough West Valley League, the state championship game has been the private property of the Valiants and the Willamina Bulldogs, who are meeting for the title for the third year in a row.


Roni Illias' Valley Catholic Valiants (23-3, 14-0 in the WVL) have lost only once in state this year, to 4A Gladstone, who reached the 4A semifinals. The Valiants other losses came against larger California schools in the Redding tournament during spring break.


Brad Chewning's Willamina Bulldogs (24-6, 12-2), the second seed from the WVL, suffered half their losses to 4A teams, and the rest to Valley Catholic.



The title game will be the eleventh meeting of the two teams in the last three years, and since a 2-1 Willamina win in 2007, the Valiants have won eight of the last nine, including a 6-0 win in the 2007 championship, and a thrilling 3-2, eight inning victory for the 2008 title.


VC downed the Bulldogs in all three meetings this year, starting with a 7-3 win April 8th. Willamina carried a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning against the visiting Valiants in their league rematch, but Valley scored twice to pull out a 2-1 win. In the league championship seeding game, Valley prevailed again, 11-3, in the least competitive game between the teams in three years.


Once the rain stopped, the wind became the OSU grounds crew's ally, and after 30 minutes of work, you can't tell it rained. The second game will be completely different. With a stiff wind blowing in from right field, the right field fence will be out of reach.


With Willamina's baseball team in extra innings in Keizer, the hoped for crossover crowd won't be happening, despite the OSAA's schedule adjustment. And VC hasn't brought much of a crowd either; quite a contrast from the nearly full stands for the first game.


Caralyn Chewning starts off with a strikeout, but Carley Trammell boots Maggie Hastreiter's grounder to second, and and Jill Suratt lifts one into the wind on the left side for a single. Kindra Mills singles to left, scoring Hastreiter, and sending Suratt to third.


Chewning gets out of the inning with two more strikeouts, but VC has capitalized on an unearned run to take a 1-0 lead, just as happened in the day's first inning.


Chewning lays down a perfect bunt to start off the Bulldogs, and Nina Umfrid does too, sending Chewning to second. Sammie Bowman's bunt moves the runners over, but there they are stranded.


Three up, three down for VC; same for W, as both defenses back their pitchers up well.


Chelsea Lambert leads off for VC with a single, and out comes Brad Chewning. SS Lani Stuck makes a great diving catch to save a single. Suratt's single in the right field gap gets thru though, and Lambert moves to third. MIlls walked to load the bases, but Chewning again averts trouble with two strikeouts.


Megan Eichler walks, and Chewning's bunt has two on. VC throws Umfrid's bunt away, but Eichler can't come in. Roni Illias comes out to chat, with the bases loaded.


VC gets the lead runner on Sammie Bowman's soft grounder, Suratt tracks down a Gesy Bowman's drive in the gap for the out, but Chewning tags up and ties it. A long fly into the wind in right by Sherae Cumberland is just a long out. 1-1 after three innings.


Chewning gets two outs easily, and one not so easily, but still gets her.


Suratt comes on to pitch in the fourth, in relief of Mills, for VC. Two ground outs and a pop up ensue.


Valley Catholic's Jill Suratt pitched the last four innings, picking up the save.


Lambert beats out an bouncer to short, and Suratt lays one down that Chewning throws away. Lambert scores when G. Bowman can't hold onto the tag.


Valley Catholi'c Chelsea Lambert reaches to touch the plate as the ball gets away from Willamina's Gesy Bowman.


A second unearned run crosses on Mills' blooper to shallow left that Lani Stuck can't handle, and Hana Wright doubles down the left field line has two runners in scoring position with still only one out.


Chewning gets a strikeout, and gets out of the inning after a passed ball, getting Mills at the plate. Still, its 3-1 VC in the middle of the fifth.


The ball gets away from Willamina's Gesy Bowman, but she retrieved it and fired to the plate,


...and Caralyn Chewning (8) tags out VC's Kindra Mills.



Willamina goes three up, three down, from the 9-1-2 slots, and have just two at bats left.


Ali Lambert's foul knocks the clipboard out of Brad Chewning's hand in the Willamina dugout, and her quick feet get her to first on the subsequent dropped third strike. But Chewning strands her there with a strikeout.


G. Bowman gets a one out single to center, and Sherae Cumberland sacrifices her to second. Justine Colton drives her in with a single to right, making it a one run game. Megan Davis comes in to run, but Trammel grounds out. Willamina is within one run, down 3-2, and will have the 8-9-1 slots batting in the seventh.


VC brings up the 2-3 4 hitters, looking for an insurance run. Suratt's standup triple to left with one out, her third hit of the game, should make her a lock for player of the game, especially since she is also in line to get the save. She scores for the second time on Mills' groundout.


"We needed that run," Suratt explained. "I needed to get on, and Kendra did her job. Willamina is a great team, and I knew they would get back to the top of the order."


Hana Wright flies out, and VC is three outs from the title, with a run ot work with.


Chelsea Lambert ranging left at SS makes a slick snag and throw for the first out. Suratt gets a strikeout, and C. Chewning is the Bulldogs' last, but best hope. And she triples off the wall in left center.


Willamina's Caralyn Chewning slids in under Kindra Mills' (8) tag for a triple. "Blue" is right in position to make the call.


"I was nervous the whole game, and that shows why," Suratt said. "She's just amazing," Suratt said of Chewning. "I hung the ball just a little, and she drove it."


Umfrid gets the ball down, and Chewning scores when VC throws it away. Out comes Illias to settle the nerves.


Sammie Bowman fouls one back looking for the walkoff. After a called strike, a ball allows the tieing run to get into scoring position. But a swinging strike gives VC their third title in three years, 4-3.


"Wow!" Illias said. "I have no idea how this feels; we are still figuring it out. But its the girls. They never get dow, even after 14 strikeouts, seven looking. We knew this was coming; Willamina is a wonderful team, very tough. The mental toughness is more important than the physical aspects of the game. This is where all the drills pay off."


Pitching, and the defense behind the pitchers, was the story of the game. Valley Catholic got only two strikeouts from their two pitcher strategy, but committed only one error, while Willamina committed four errors, and allowed three unearned runs, blunting the effectiveness of Chewning's 14 strikeout performance.


Willamina's Caralyn Chewning struck out Valley Catholic 14 batters.


"The errors were the key," Brad Chewning said. "You just can't have those against a great team."


B. Chewning also felt Willamina "Didn't capitalize on some opportunities. I'll take the blame for that; we had a game plan to play small ball with all the lefties (the first four hitters at the top of the Bulldog lineup are all speedy southside hitters), and try to use that speed. I got away from that a time or two, trying to capitalize too quickly."


The use of two pitchers was a Valley Catholic game plan both Chewnings had anticipated. "They do that every game," C. Chewning explained.


"Jill doesn't like to start," Illias said. "But it works, and if it works, why change it?"


Illias, with no seniors on the team, may not stop winning titles anytime soon either, having sucessfully reloaded this season. "We lost 4 seniors, the Player of the Year, and the Pitcher of the Year from last year;s squad. People are laughing now, but this was a rebuilding year. I didn't schedule as many bigger schools in the preseason, because we had a lot of work to do."


Valley Catholic "three-peats" as 3A Champions.


"But even the freshmen stepped up," Suratt explained. "We don't have a 'team leader', because we don't need one. Each player is when the situation calls for it."


And while VC is the very early favorite to make another appearance in next year's 3A title game, Willamina remains a good quinella pick. The Bulldogs lose only one senior starter, and return C. Chewning, who will look for a fourth start in a title game. "I still want to win one of these," she said, while reflecting on the latest addition to her growing collection of second place medals.






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