By Jerod Young • Jerod Young • 

Pirates begin 3A championship quest

Marcus Larson/News-RegisterDayton s Paige Van Noy slaps a hit during a game in March.
Marcus Larson/News-Register
Dayton's Paige Van Noy slaps a hit during a game in March.

Dayton beat Bandon 18-1 in the first round of the 3A state playoffs Wednesday. The Pirates move on to the 3A state quarterfinals today and host West Valley League rival Willamina at 3:30 p.m. at Wilsonville High School.

The Tigers (10-13) of 3A’s Sunset League surprised Dayton (22-3) by taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning after an RBI triple.

The Pirates tied the game in the bottom half of the first inning after Sydney Van Noy led the inning off with a single and later scored on a wild pitch.

The Pirates seized control of the game in the third inning when Rachael Fluke and Cassi Hill gave the Pirates a 3-1 lead.

“Well, we gave up that one run in the first because it was raining,” Dayton softball coach Rob Umbenhower said. “Other than that, no injuries, got the win in the nasty conditions.”

After adding three runs on walks and wild pitches, Dayton sophomore Stephanie Jacks ripped a two-RBI double to left-center field to give the Pirates an 8-1 lead. Dayton received RBIs from Jacks, Shelby Byerly and Michaela Shouldis, which gave the Pirates an 11-1 lead after three innings.

Shouldis said the Pirate offense performed well given the rainy, muddy conditions.

“I thought we did well considering the weather conditions,” Shouldis said. “We really overcame the rain and hit really well with the slower pitching, which is something we aren’t used to.”

The bottom of the fourth inning was Dayton’s breakout inning. It brought 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs. Cooper Ringnalda started the inning with an RBI single. Hill came up next and hit a deep two-RBI double to left field giving Dayton a 14-1 lead.

After back-to-back walks, Shouldis and Byerly hit back-to-back RBI singles. The final runs of the inning came on a walk and an RBI single from Van Noy.

“I thought we did good under the conditions,” Umbenhower said. “It’s cold and wet, something we haven’t had to face all year.”

The Pirates produced 18 runs on 13 hits and one error. The Pirates produced 12 walks. Umbenhower said he thought it may have been one of Dayton’s highest walk totals of the season.

Along with plate discipline, the Pirate defense received lights out pitching from Dayton starter Jamie Chenea.

Chenea earned her 12th win of the season. She struck out 11 and walked three for the win. Chenea said it wasn’t the best performance given the weather, but she was happy to pull off the win.

“We actually did better than I thought,” Chenea said. “Usually I cannot throw in rain through previous years, but I think my mental stability has gotten a lot better as the years have gone on.”

The Tigers finished second in the Sunset League behind Glide.

It was Bandon’s first trip to the 3A state playoffs in school history. The school started its softball program in 2010. Since their inaugural season, the Tigers are 28-54 in four seasons.

Last season the Pirates went to the 3A state semifinals but lost 10-5 to Blanchet Catholic. Before the Pirates can be concerned about the semifinals, they have to get past the much-improved Willamina Bulldogs in the 3A state quarterfinal round today.

The Pirates and Bulldogs met twice this season. Dayton beat Willamina 8-0 April 12 and 10-0 April 22.

“We’ve seen them twice, they’ve seen us twice,” Umbenhower said. “It’s a situation where we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

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