By Robert Husseman • Sports Editor • 

Dayton softball heading back to 3A state title game

Marcus Larson/News-Register##The Dayton softball team celebrates its 1-0 victory against Pleasant Hill in the OSAA Class 3A softball state semifinals Tuesday evening at Jim Connelly Field.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##The Dayton softball team celebrates its 1-0 victory against Pleasant Hill in the OSAA Class 3A softball state semifinals Tuesday evening at Jim Connelly Field.

DAYTON -- With a timely swing of the bat, Haley Couch gave herself all the help she needed in the 2016 OSAA Class 3A softball state semifinals Tuesday.

Couch followed Teddi Hop's two-out double in the bottom of the fifth inning with a double of her own, bringing Hop across the plate. It would be the only run for the Pirates, seeded No. 1 in Class 3A, in a 1-0 victory over No. 5 Pleasant Hill at Jim Connelly Field.

The victory allows Dayton (27-3) the opportunity to defend its 2015 Class 3A state title against No. 3 Rainier Friday at 4 p.m. at the Oregon State University Softball Complex in Corvallis. The Pirates and Columbians have met in the state title game three times in the past four seasons, with Rainier making its fourth consecutive appearance.

Couch walked three batters and hit one against the Billies (20-10) but allowed just three hits in a complete-game effort. Couch struck out seven batters (three looking), and no Pleasant Hill runner advanced past second base.

Hop went 2-for-3 against Billies starter E.J. Skelton. Kylee Hill, Katelyn Sutton and Kalina Rojas each hit singles for Dayton.

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