EUGENE &

The Ashland 16-U fastpitch softball team knocked off the Central Panthers 6-1 to claim the state championship title at Laurel Park on Sunday.




Pitcher Hayley Ross gave up just one run and struck out three in three innings and Bella Pribyl recorded nine strikeouts in four shutout innings of relief, as Ashland wrapped up a perfect 5-0 trip.




The tourney win clinched for Ashland (21-6) an automatic berth to nationals, Aug. 1-5 in Salem. Ashland's 13-player roster is comprised of nine Ashland High varsity players, plus two from South Medford and two from Phoenix-Talent.




Ashland used a sacrifice fly by Amanda Good to beat Murrayhill 1-0 in the ninth inning of the quarterfinals. In the wild game, which included two international tiebreakers, Ashland and Murrayhill each turned two double plays. Ashland also beat Scappoose 12-0, Eagle Point 5-3, and Central 7-3 in the semis.




"I've been doing this for 15 years and this was probably the most impressive softball I have ever witnessed," Ashland manager John Souza said. "It's been a magical season."




In the championship game, Central took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning before Ashland answered by scoring two in the bottom, taking the lead for good when Whitney James drove in Dominique Newman with a fielder's choice ground out.




Ashland put the Panthers away in the fifth when Rebecca Singleton smacked a line drive, bases-clearing triple to center field to make it 6-1.




Souza said Ashland's team batting average throughout the tournament was about .550. Leadoff hitter Courtney Scoggins led the way with an .800 on-base percentage and a .650 batting average.




The team's coaches are Tom Ross, Steve Knight, Kevin Scoggins and Bob Good.




Donations to help fund Ashland's trip to state can be made to Souza, who can be reached at 621-3387 or 512-0010.




Babe Ruth




At Talent, Kameron Kaufman's pitching helped the Phoenix-Talent All-Stars cruise past Upper Rogue 9-1 this weekend to take first place in the District 4 Babe Ruth Tournament at Colver Field.




Kaufman went five innings while Kyle Treadway, Tanner Steinmetz and Joey Ortiz supplied the offense with two hits apiece.




Treadway added three RBIs and Steinmetz scored four times.