Picture
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian

PILOT ROCK — In Little League softball, where teams are as likely to score on a wild pitch as they are off the bat of a hitter, an accurate pitcher can make all the difference. For the Pendleton 9/10-year-old all-stars Wednesday, that difference maker was Katie Bradt.

Bradt lived on the corners of the strike zone against Milton-Freewater in the championship game of the District 3 Tournament in Pilot Rock, striking out 13 batters and guiding Pendleton to a 12-1 victory. She finished the game with a three-hitter and didn’t allow a run until the final inning.

Bradt’s precision pitching started early, but not after the big game rattled her nerves momentarily. She plunked the first batter she faced in the game. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third, Bradt took a deep breath.


 
 
Picture
Milton-Freewater's Amie Coffman scores. (Photo by EJ Harris)
By AJ Mazzolini
East Oregonian

PILOT ROCK — The game plan against Pilot Rock for the Milton-Freewater 9/10-year-old softball all-stars might as well have been leave bats parked on shoulders Tuesday.

The innings in which the Little Leaguers did their most damage against the hosts from Pilot Rock came through patience at the plate. Milton Freewater scored all but one of its runs in a pair of walk-heavy innings as the team advanced to the championship game of the District 3 tournament with a 16-2 victory.

Milton-Freewater is one game away from a trip to Enterprise for the state tournament, but they’ll need to get past Pendleton’s 9- and 10-year-olds today at 2 p.m. To do that the offense will need to help itself, Milton-Freewater manager L.G. Bullock said.                


 
 
By AJ Mazzolini
East Oregonian

PILOT ROCK — Sporadic storming drove the Pendleton 9/10-year-old all-stars off the softball field twice during their game with Grant County at the District 3 Tournament in Pilot Rock on Tuesday. Just as the girls would get into a groove it seemed, the clouds would unleash their furry sending players scrambling for the dugouts and fans for their umbrellas.

“Yes, it was very tough to keep the girls focused in there,” Pendleton manager Kelsey Garton said. “You get a lightning strike or they hear thunder and it’s a half hour delay. With 9- and 10-year-old little girls in the dugout for half hour, me and the other coaches were wanting to be back out on the field real fast.”

 
 
Picture
By AJ Mazzolini
East Oregonian

PILOT ROCK — “There you go, there you go. Keep messing with them,” manager Butch Wilson instructed his base runner, Tehya Ostrom as she edged down the third base line toward home following a first-inning pitch.

Baker catcher Nicole Parsons pump faked the ball back to third, convincing Ostrom to retreat to the base. On the next pitch, nothing would stop her as the Pilot Rock runner dashed home on a wild pitch.

“It pumps us up and gets us going, intimidating the other team,” Ostrom said of the high-risk, higher-reward base running tactics her Little League Majors softball all-star team employs.


 
 

Legislation gave women equal opportunities in education and sports

Picture
Kathie Nooy and Colleen Hunt (Photo by EJ Harris)
By AJ Mazzolini
East Oregonian

PENDLETON — The uniforms weren’t meant for volleyball and the net sagged in the middle. The game fundamentals were there, but little skill existed beyond that. When the ball hit the air, the play itself resembled more a glorified physical education class than true competition.

Not that any of the players minded, remembered Kathie Nooy, a senior at Pendleton High during the fall of 1975.

“Anything sports related, I was going to be involved,” said Nooy, formerly Schubert. “That first volleyball year, that was huge for us.”

Six girls from Pendleton and six girls from Hermiston gazed at each other from opposite sides of the court during the teams’ first volleyball match ever. They weren’t rivals, not like today. The high schoolers had hardly ever competed against each other, save maybe a track meet the spring before. Though technically opponents during their game on Sept. 16, 1975, the girls felt more like allies in working together for one goal.


 
 
By AJ Mazzolini
East Oregonian

PENDLETON — Pendleton residents know the Round-Up Indian Village as the setting for a sea of teepees each September during the town’s historic rodeo. But in the spring of 1987 the expanse, nestled between the Round-Up grounds and the Umatilla River, played home to Pendleton High School’s first softball team.

Home plate was no more than a chalk circle scribbled in the dirt. A shaky backstop was the only section of fence surrounding the field as the outfield continued beyond any girls’ bat power. The team played in T-shirts and shorts without real uniforms. Coach Terry Prouse would stitch on numbers before every game, having to remove them because the shirts were shared with the same-season track program.

“But at that time we didn’t really care,” said Prouse, who helped establish the team after her hire as a physical education teacher in Pendleton in 1986. “We were playing. We got to be part of a team.”

 
 
By AJ Mazzolini
East Oregonian

HERMISTON — Long before Jocelyn Jones graduated from Clackamas High in 1974, she knew physical education was what she wanted to pursue professionally. Physical education classes captured her attention and imagination during high school.

Each day was about fun and staying active, always different from the ones before and after. How could she pass up that sort of career knowing it was out there, Jones thought.

But with girls’ basketball and volleyball cropping up in high schools around Oregon — some, like her own Clackamas, adding those to the steady diet of tennis and track — teaching P.E. would come with the extra duties of coaching these teams. She’d never played volleyball or basketball, but Jones decided she needed an early jump if she was going to have to instruct others on the game.

 
 
Picture
Caleb Ball slides safely into home. (Photos by AJ Mazzolini)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — Before his team’s doubleheader with Mt. Spokane on Wednesday, Hodgen Red Bulls coach Travis Zander posted updated statistics for his players in the home dugout. The newest numbers included the four losses and scoring drought that was the Red Bull’s performance at the Vallivue Tournament in Caldwell, Idaho, last weekend.

The stats were a glaring reality that the batters had already known, but reading them, tangibly printed for all to see, was a different kind of motivation.

“They wanted to turn them around,” Zander said. “They buried them. They said, ‘Screw it, we want to see different numbers.’ ”


 
 
Picture
Kaci Kamm competes in breakaway roping. (Photo by Wendy Sorey)
By AJ Mazzolini
East Oregonian

PRINEVILLE — Everything seemed to be going Michael Pederson’s way through the first two rounds of the Oregon High School State Finals Rodeo. The Hermiston senior followed up a first-place time on Day 1 of the tie-down roping competition with a second-place finish on Day 2 and also took down his steer the second quickest in that round.

Heading into the finals, the Intermountain High School Rodeo Team cowboy held the lead in the year-long, aggregate scoring for all-around cowboy for the state. He didn’t need to win either event during the short-go performance last Saturday at Prineville’s Crook County Fairgrounds, just place reasonably well.

But things don’t always go as planned.


 
 
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian

HERMISTON — After four seasons at the helm of the Hermiston Bulldogs baseball program, head coach Brent Mattson resigned this week, citing family time and tensions with school administration for the decision.

“Obviously spending more time with my wife and my children is a huge reason not to coach, but probably the biggest reason not to coach would be the lack of support,” Mattson said.

“I mean I definitely had support in the community for sure, but there were some key people in the baseball community. And they had pull and they had influence. In the end you’ve got to ask yourself where your priority is at and if it’s worth it.”