Grants Pass advances to title game

EUGENE — When Grants Pass erupted for three runs in the top of the first inning in the Class 6A softball state semifinals Tuesday against Southwest Conference foe Sheldon, Cavers coach Tom Blanchard was confident that his squad was not going to be denied a berth in Saturday's finals.

Grants Pass sophomore pitcher Morgan Barnes took it from there and blanked the Irish on a one-hitter en route to a 6-0 victory.

"I don't think Morgan has given up three runs too many times in her career," said Blanchard, the Grants Pass Athletic Director and former softball coach who took over in 2008 after a 10-year break. "I felt pretty good after that first inning."

Blanchard replaced Clay Rounsaville, who stepped down after nine years as coach to take an administration position with the school district.

Grants Pass (26-4) will face Roseburg, winner of the SWC, for the championship at the Oregon State softball complex. The Indians posted a 2-0 victory over Jesuit in the other semifinal.

Roseburg defeated Grants Pass, SWC runner-up, in all three conference meetings this year. But two games went 10 innings and the Indians won the other in the bottom of the seventh.

"What's really cool is it's going to be Roseburg," said Blanchard. "Holy cow, we're sure excited. We respect them and it's our conference. We have played them very well and we haven't beaten them. If we want to be the best, we have to beat the best."

Sophomore center fielder Tara Glover, the SWC player of the year, hit the third pitch from Sheldon pitcher Sierra Stanley for a home run to open the first inning.

"It was a line shot," said Blanchard. "There was no doubt."

"The next thing you know Sheldon was kinda down," added Blanchard, after the Cavers added two more runs. "They knew they weren't going to get a whole lot off of Morgan."

Sheldon's only hit came on Chloe Buerstatte's single to lead off the fourth inning.

Barnes struck out eight to register her 17th win in 20 decisions.

"(Barnes) is one of the top three pitchers in the state and she showed that today," said Blanchard. "She's a big-time pitcher. She's best under pressure."

Junior third baseman Karleigh Prestianni went 4-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the Cavers' 12-hit attack. Glover added three hits and scored three runs.

Sheldon, the SWC third-place team, completes the season with an 18-12 record.

Grants Pass 300 020 1 — 6 12 0

Sheldon 000 000 0 — 0 1 2

Barnes and Woolf; Stanley and Brown. W — Barnes (17-3). L — Stanley. 2B — GP: Prestianni. HR — GP: Glover.

ROSEBURG 2, JESUIT 0 — At Roseburg, Tori Walker delivered the winning hit and Mikayla Endicott prevailed in a tight pitching duel against Jesuit's Paige Hall before a standing-room crowd at Stewart Park.

Walker's two-out single broke up a scoreless game in the sixth inning and scored Whitney Harris and Alyssa DesBiens.

Endicott and Hall each allowed just three hits. Endicott (22-3) struck out seven and walked one.

Roseburg improved to 24-4-1 on the season.

Jesuit 000 000 0 — 0 3 4

Roseburg 000 002 x — 2 3 0

Hall and Lowe. Endicott and Walker. W - Endicott (22-3). L - Hall. 2B - J: VandeBergh.

Class 4A

SCAPPOOSE AT HENLEY, POSTPONED — At Klamath Falls, the Class 4A semifinal has been rescheduled for 4 p.m. today at U.S. Cellular Community Park. The game was moved to the Field Turf softball diamond in Medford because of wet conditions in Klamath Falls.

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