Wednesday, July 18, 2012
EUGENE - The Triangle Little League softball All-Stars won the Oregon Juniors (13-14) state championship Tuesday, blasting Columbia, 13-1, in the title game after defeating Eugene-Sheldon, 17-0, in the semifinals earlier that day.
The 13-1 demolition capped a state tournament in which the Triangle squad - representing Athena, Weston, Helix and Adams as well as featuring players from the Milton-Freewater Little Leagle - blasted opponents for more than 53 runs in four games. The Triangles gave up just two unearned runs over the same stretch.
Triangle heads to Tucson, Ariz., for the regional tournament Aug. 1-8.
"The girls are excited, Triangle coach Mike Lambert said. "Half of these girls won the Oregon tournament last year. We placed second last year at regionals; we're excited to go back and try to improve and go on to the World Series."
Colette Robert, who pitches in the low 60s Lambert said, started both games Tuesday, striking out five in two innings of work in the semifinal and picking up eight strikeouts through five innings in the championship.
Robert didn't give up a hit in the opener and allowed two hits in the championship.
"She did a great job," Lambert said of Robert. "One of the hits was a bunt single, the other was a drop-in bloop single to right. She just dominated. She had a lot of pitches that were just working really well."
Jessica Lambert pitched the final three innings of the game against Eugene Sheldon, and allowed just one hit in the fourth inning, another blooper to right.
"Both girls did really well in terms of strikeouts," Lambert said. "The one hit in the fourth inning broke up a perfect game between the two pitchers.
"With the pitching staff that we have, and how well they did at state and regionals, they're going to be a strong component of how well we do at regionals," Lambert said.
Neither game lasted past five innings thanks to an offensive outpouring that saw seven different Triangle players put up multiple hits.
Lambert and Abi Biggs lead the way with five hits each on the day.
Triangle is 8-1 since districts, with the lone 2-1 loss coming to Pilot Rock in the district playoffs. It was a game where the Triangle batters couldn't seem to find a hole, Lambert said.
"One thing that our girls that have taken from that game is that any team can be able to beat any other team on any other day," Lambert said. "They have to work to prepare to perform and win."
Triangle now has an extended break before the start of the regional tournament in Tucson, Ariz., where it faces the Washington champion on Aug. 2.
Triangle 17, Eugene-Sheldon 0
Triangle 311 75 - 17 19 0
Eugene-Sheldon 000 00 - 0 1 5
Robert, Lambert (3) and Peal; Race and Hazelton.
HR - none.
Hits - Triangle: Peal 2, Kralman 3, Robert, Lambert 2, Kelly 4, Biggs 3, Schroeder, Dillow, Smiley, Field; Eugene-Sheldon: Fritz.
Triangle 13, Columbia 1 (beat centennial 12-2 in semi to advance)
Triangle 402 07 - 13 13 4
Columbia 100 00 - 1 2 1
Robert and Peal; Garcia, Blankenship (4) and Ayala.
HR - none.
Hits - Triangle: Peal, Kralman, Robert 3, Lambert 3, Biggs 2, Schroeder 2, Field; Columbia: McLaughlin, Blankenship.