Polk County itemizer observer. (Dallas, Or) 1992-current, April 01, 2015, Image 11

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    Polk County Itemizer-Observer • April 1, 2015 11A
Polk County Sports
Kerr, Panthers take aim at league
Sophomore learns from difficult freshman year to emerge as leader
By Lukas Eggen
The Itemizer-Observer
Kerr wasn’t ready for what
hit her during the 2014 soft-
ball season. As a freshman,
Kerr saw extensive playing
time at the varsity level.
“I didn’t know how to hit a
curve ball, or a rise or any-
thing,” Kerr said. “I kept
grounding out and popping
This year, she’s no longer
the player struggling to find
her place.
T h e Ce n t ra l s o f t b a l l
team went 4-0 in non-
league action, outscoring
opponents 40-5. Kerr has
played a major role in that,
hitting her first high school
home run against McKay
on March 18, followed by
her second against Philo-
“The first one was iffy,”
Kerr said. “When I saw it go
out, it was the greatest feel-
ing. I never hit one in a game
before. … Just all the little
things with my form have
improved everything.”
Kerr, who said she trained
nearly year-round, also saw
an evolution on defense.
After years
of playing
the infield,
Kerr was
moved to
right field
as a fresh-
man. It was
then she
perhaps her most important
softball lesson.
“The biggest thing I’ve
learned from last year is you
don’t always get what you
want position-wise, but
you’re contributing to the
team,” Kerr said. “You’re
being put wherever the team
needs you. That humbled
me in a way and kept me
This season, Kerr is capa-
ble of playing where ever the
Panthers need her.
“Now, I’m a good utility
player for the team,” Kerr
said. “I’ve learned how to
play everywhere, so it’s
turned out for the better.”
Kerr is far from the lone
Central player to step up so
far this season. Senior
Ryanne Huffman and junior
catcher Kylie Nash are pro-
viding the Panthers with
consistent bats on offense
and steady
hands on
which be-
gan league
p l a y
South Al-
bany Tues-
day after press time, looks to
continue its success in
“We’ve really come to-
gether,” Kerr said. “Everyone
has their sport and is work-
ing to improve. Our league is
going to be a step up going
into 5A. We need to make
sure our game is tight and
we play well every game.”
Central coach Kendra
George said she’s seen her
team make some big strides
from last year.
“I’m excited for our league
season,” George said. “This is
a great group of girls and I’m
excited for us to compete.”
Whatever problems the
Panthers do face during the
season, Kerr said the team
has matured enough to han-
dle them.
“Last year there was a gap
between upperclassmen
and lowerclassmen, I think,”
Up Next
• Central finished non-
league play with a 4-0
• The Panthers out-
scored opponents 40-5
during that stretch.
• Central opened Mid-
Willamette Conference
play against South Albany
Tuesday after press time.
Kerr said. “This year, every-
one is close and we solve
things together and keep
them between us.”
That closeness could be
t h e t e a m’s g r e a t e s t
strength. And as Kerr, and
others, have emerged, the
Panthers are bringing a
sense of urgency to their
play this year.
“As long as we stay fo-
cused, work hard at prac-
tices and do our best, we’ll
be OK, because as soon as
we dog it, that’s going to
show on the field,” Kerr said.
“This is a good year for us to
go to state. We’re losing a lot
of seniors this year. We need
to do whatever we can to
pull this together and get
there this year.”
LUKAS EGGEN/Itemizer-Observer
Central sophomore Jori Kerr recorded her first two ho-
me runs of her high school career this season.
Dallas picks up Wolves earn consolation title
first win of year Softball goes 2-5 at Tournament of Champions
El-Hato hits two home runs
Itemizer-Observer staff report
MEDFORD — The Dallas
softball team earned its first
victory of the season at the
Medford Spring Break Clas-
The Dragons (1-4 overall)
Liberty 8-
6 after
falling to
La Salle
13-12 on
March 24.
To t t e n
seven hits
over the two games.
Yasmine El-Hato hit a
pair of home runs during
the two contests, including
a grand slam against the
Makena Linn added five
hits and three RBIs.
El-Hato also earned the
victory in the pitcher’s cir-
cle against Liberty after two
innings of work.
Keisha Sickles got the
w a s
to open
ence play
Wo o d -
burn Tue-
sday after press time.
The Dragons play at Cen-
tral Wednesday (today) at
4:30 p.m. and South Albany
on Friday. Dallas returns
home to host Corvallis
Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
Itemizer-Observer staff report
TURLOCK, Calif. — West-
ern Oregon’s softball team
recovered from a rough start
to win the Consolation No. 1
onship at
the 14th
To u r n a -
ment of
T h e
(13-20 ov-
erall) defeated Academy of
Art 3-1 and the University of
California-San Diego 4-3
Sunday to clinch the title.
WOU opened tourna-
ment play with five straight
Sophomore Kelsie Gard-
ner recorded nine hits dur-
ing the tournament, in-
cluding three each against
UC San Diego and Acade-
my of Art.
Freshman pinch-hitter
Amy Anderson hit a two-out,
RBI double in the top of the
seventh to propel the Wolves
to the victory over the Urban
Knights. Seniors Amanda
Evola and Jourdan Williams
had two hits each against
Academy of Art, while pitch-
er Sammi Cadwallader
threw the final four innings
to preserve the victory.
Western Oregon hosts
Western Washington for a
doubleheader Thursday at 2
p.m. before traveling to play
at Saint Martin’s on Satur-
day. WOU’s game against the
Vikings is a makeup for the
contests postponed from
March 15 due to weather
Garret Harpole hit a grand slam
in the series finale, but Western
Oregon lost three of four to
Nor thwest Nazarene. The
Wolves and
split the
header on
Friday, with
WOU falling
7-5 before
earning a 2-
1 win. Senior
Jesse Pratt earned the victory.
Matt Taylor recorded seven hits
over the series, while Harpole
hit his grand slam to tie the
fourth game at six in the sixth
inning. The Crusaders respond-
ed, however, in the bottom of
the sixth with four runs of their
own, as Northwest Nazarene
took the final two games 3-1,
10-6. Western Oregon plays at
Central Washington for a pair
of doubleheaders on Friday
and Saturday.
Sam Moore performed strongly
for the WOU track and field
team, placing second in the
heptathlon at the Mt. Hood
Multi Meet
on Thursday
and Friday.
Moore’s final
tally of 3,982
points was
46 behind
Kiki McDon-
agh of Warn-
e r P a c i fi c .
Four WOU athletes took home
individual titles at the
Willamette Invitational on Sat-
urday. Freshman Cody Warner
won the 100- and 200-meter
runs in 10.76 and 21.40 sec-
onds, respectively. Freshman
Kaleb Dobson placed first in
the 110 hurdles with a time of
15.22, while junior Badane
Sultessa won the 800 in 1:52.64
to lead the men’s squad. Junior
Rochelle Pappel took first in
the 100 hurdles in 14.51, nar-
rowly beating Rosie Smith of
Alaska Anchorage by .03 sec-
onds. The Wolves will compete
at the Stanford Invitational Fri-
day and Saturday.
Dallas, Central open season at Trysting Tree
Itemizer-Observer staff report
CORVALLIS — The Dallas
and Central boys golf teams
kicked off the 2015 season at
Trysting Tree Golf Course on
Both teams struggled to
keep up with the Mid-
Willamette Conference’s
top squads.
The Dragons placed sixth
out of eight teams, with a
combined score of 416.
Dylan Cackler led Dallas,
scoring a 90 after 18 holes.
Mosier Locke was second for
the Dragons, recording a
Tyler Kunz (110_, Hunter
Lindsay (112) and Nolan
Miller (113) rounded out
Dallas’ varsity finishers.
The Panthers finished
eighth as a team after scor-
ing 456.
Joey Wiitgrodt scored a
106 to lead Central, while
Andrew Love recorded a
Ty Whittemore (118),
Madison Delaney (122) and
Dylan Lewis (127) also com-
peted for the Panthers’ varsi-
ty squad.
Crescent Valley won the
team title, scoring a 314.
Corvallis finished second
with a 319. The Raiders’
Kevin Geniza finished first
overall with a 69.
The Dragons will host the
Mid-Willamette Confer-
ence’s second league tour-
nament on Monday at Cross
Creek Golf Course.
Dallas’ girls golf squad
will compete in its first
tournament of the season
on Monday at Mallard
C re e k G o l f C o u r s e i n
The girls team will then
compete at Spring Hill Golf
Club in Albany on Tuesday.
Silver: Senior has high expectations for team
LUKAS EGGEN/Itemizer-Observer
Senior David Silver will start at catcher for the Pirates.
Continued from Page 10A
“We didn’t have a bona
fide catcher until David
came,” Mabry said. “He
came out and took advan-
tage of the opportunity to
be the guy behind the
plate, and we didn’t give
him a break for the past
two years because we
didn’t have the depth to be
able to do that.”
Silver built up relation-
ships with pitchers Chad
Price, Haylen Janesofsky and
Troy Trembly.
“I’ve learned to expect
everything and anything,”
Silver said. “I like each one
of them like a brother.”
These days, Mabry said
when his pitchers need a
break, he rarely has to step
onto the diamond. It’s Silver
who approaches the pitch-
e r ’s m o -
und. That
level of
trust is
what sets
Silver and
the pitch-
ers apart.
may be
right about the Pirates’ sea-
son. Perrydale, which played
St. Paul Tuesday after press
time, opened the season by
outscoring opponents 42-8,
including two shutouts in a
“We’ve gotten to a point
where the younger guys
have developed in the pro-
gram,” Mabry said. “The
seniors are the first who
have been here for four
years in the program. They
teach the younger guys
what’s ex-
pected of
them. They
own it.”
B u t
M a b r y
wants them
to become
more dan-
gerous and
consistent at the plate.
“We’ve scored pretty con-
sistently, but we’ve had three
or four opportunities with
the bases loaded and zero or
one outs and only scored
once or not at all,” Mabry
said. “We can’t do that in
league play. We won’t be up
six or seven runs. We’ll be up
one or tied.”
While success in non-
league play is nice, Silver
said it will mean little if the
Pirates don’t advance to the
Class 2A-1A state playoffs
this year. After years of grow-
ing in the program, Silver
and his teammates are ready
for a breakout season.
“We have to leave it all in
the past,” Silver said.
“We’ve got to come out on
the field ready to go physi-
cally and mentally. The one
game you aren’t ready will
come back to bite you in
the butt.”
Perrydale plays at Crow
on Friday before opening
league play at Country
Christian on Tuesday. It will,
Mabry hopes, be the start of
something special.
“Our motto this year is
‘finish,’” Mabry said. “We’ve
finished in the middle of the
pack. The guys believe that
this is our year to change