Two teams who each captured their first state championships in Class 2A/1A softball the past two years will square off in the final on Friday in Eugene.
Ninth-seeded North Douglas of Drain (27-3), which won the title in 2017, and No. 7 Kennedy of Mt. Angel (22-4), the reigning champion, meet at 5 p.m. at the University of Oregon’s Jane Sanders Stadium.
That game will follow the 3A championship contest between No. 2 Dayton (19-5) and No. 1 Clatskanie (26-0), which begins at 2 p.m.
North Douglas, which won the Special District 3 regular season title, defeated No. 8 Bonanza 12-7 in the second round, shut out No. 1 Grant Union 5-0 in the quarterfinals and blanked No. 20 Lakeview 2-0 in the semifinals.
Kennedy, the SD2 champ, eliminated No. 10 Oakland 12-2 in six innings, whipped No. 15 Glide 13-1 in five innings and downed No. 3 Toledo 7-1.
“I wasn’t surprised at all (we made it this far),” said North Douglas centerfielder Joanna Alcantar, one of two seniors on the team along with second baseman Riley Black. “We all really wanted it. It was deja vu from two years ago.
“I was super confident (against Lakeview), considering we were playing at home. It’s really exciting.”
The Warriors and Trojans are quite familiar with each other, having faced each other in the playoffs the last five years.
North Douglas upset then-No. 1 Kennedy 3-2 in the 2017 semis in Mt. Angel. The Trojans got payback last year in the quarterfinals in Mt. Angel, winning 13-0 in five innings.
North Douglas didn’t have pitcher Nicki Derrick last year due to an ACL injury suffered during basketball season. The junior right-hander has tossed two straight shutouts in the playoffs this season.
“We didn’t get past the quarterfinals last year, so it’s nice we made it here again,” Joanna Alcantar said. “We’ve worked so hard the last two years and have something to prove.
“Nicki (Derrick) adds security for us, knowing she’s a tough pitcher. She’s a rock, makes us more relaxed. We believe we can stop Kennedy and get that championship.”
The Warriors, guided by Jesse Rice, are expected to open with a starting lineup of junior Sofia Alcantar at catcher, Black at second, freshman Halli Vaughn at shortstop, Derrick, junior Hope Ward at third base, junior Natalie Draeger at first base, freshman Cydni Dill in left field, Joanna Alcantar in center and freshman Samantha MacDowell in right field. Sophomore Morgan MacDonald will hit for MacDowell.
Junior Grace Schaecher pitched a complete-game three-hitter with eight strikeouts in Kennedy’s victory at Toledo Tuesday. Sophomore Ellie Cantu had two hits and two RBIs.
The Trojans have won eight straight. Their losses have come to 3A schools — two to Dayton, one to Scio and one to Clatskanie.