By JAYSON JACOBY
Of the Baker City Herald
Oregons best senior girls softball team is from Baker City.
Bakers all-stars beat Mount Hood twice Monday to claim the state championship and advance to the regional tournament in Great Falls, Mont.
Baker will play Alaska Sunday at 4 p.m. PDT.
The feeling is awesome, Baker manager Dale Curtis said this morning en route to Baker City from the state tournament site at Portlands Alpenrose Stadium. Ive never in my life coached a team that played so hard or wanted to win as bad as these girls.
The girls had a mission to come down here and win it.
Not only is the state title the first for a Baker all-star softball team, but to earn it they had to beat Mount Hood, last years state and regional champions.
Curtis said many of Mount Hoods players are 16 years old all of Bakers all-stars are either 14 or 15.
After losing its first game 2-0 to Mount Hood on Friday, Baker had to win three straight games over the weekend just to earn a chance to avenge the defeat.
And because Mount Hood was the tournaments only unbeaten team, Baker had to win twice Monday to capture the state title.
So Baker did.
The all-stars needed only one inning Monday to show that they would not go quietly as they did in Fridays 2-0 loss, when Baker managed just two hits against Mount Hood.
Baker scored three times in the top of the first inning of Mondays first game, and never trailed in the 11-4 win that forced a second, winner-takes-all game.
Curtis said his players were determined to be more aggressive at the plate Monday, when they faced the same Mount Hood pitcher who shut them out Friday.
Those girls knew they had to come out and swing the bat, Curtis said. We drove the ball hard.
Mount Hood scored twice in the bottom of the first to cut Bakers lead to 3-2, but then starting pitcher Amanda Moutsanides settled down and didnt allow a run in the next three innings.
Baker, meanwhile, kept scoring.
Erin Brookshire went 4-for-4. Moutsanides had two singles and a triple, and drove in two runs.
Amanda Cribbs had a double and three RBIs, and Rachel Hill and Julie Lovisone each drove in a run.
Moutsanides and Lovisone continued their strong performances in the pitchers circle.
The duo, which combined in each of Bakers six tournament games, allowed no more than four runs in any contest.
In Mondays first game, Moutsanides pitched the first four innings, allowing two runs on two hits. She struck out two.
Lovisone pitched the final three innings, allowing three hits and two runs. She didnt walk a batter.
The championship game wasnt so easy.
Mount Hood led 1-0 after an inning, but then Baker scored three times in the second. Cribbs drove in two of the runs with a triple, and Kirsten Brookshire plated the other with a sacrifice.
Three runs was enough for Baker.
Moutsanides again pitched the first four innings.
Lovisone relieved her at the start of the fifth, with Baker ahead 3-2, and shut down Mount Hood to preserve the lead and propel Baker to the regionals.
Mount Hood 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 4
Baker 3 1 2 3 0 2 x 11
Gende, Williams (3) and (catcher unavailable). Moutsanides, Lovisone (5) and E. Brookshire. WP Moutsanides. LP Gende.
Baker hits E. Brookshire 4, Hensley, Moutsanides 3, Hill, Shira, Cribbs, Lovisone.
Baker RBI Moutsanides 2, Hill, Cribbs 3, Lovisone.
2B Hill, Cribbs. 3B Shira.
Mount Hood 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2
Baker 0 3 0 0 0 0 x 3
Gende and (catcher unavailable). Moutsanides, Lovisone (5) and E. Brookshire. WP Moutsanides. LP Gende.
Baker hits E. Brookshire, Moutsanides, Cribbs, Hensley.
Baker RBI Cribbs 2, K. Brookshire.
2B Moutsanides. 3B Cribbs.