HERMISTON — For the first time since 2013, the Hermiston softball team finds itself back in the 5A state tournament.

Of course this time Hermiston’s road to a state championship game appearance is much tougher as the Bulldogs slot into the 2017 tournament as the No. 15 seed after turning in a 10-16 overall record and a 3-9 mark in the CRC.

Up first for Hermiston is the No. 2 seed Marist Catholic, who comes in with the most potent offense in the state. Led by reigning Class 5A Player of the Year and University of Oregon signee Lauren Burke, the Spartans put up 311 runs this year for an average of just over 13 per game.

The Spartans also allow an average of just 2.3 runs per game, which means Hermiston’s offense will need contributions from every spot in the lineup and will need to find ways to manufacture runs.

Hermiston will also need another strong performance from pitcher Julissa Almaguer, who has led the Bulldogs to big wins over Hood River and Hillsboro over the past three weeks.

First pitch is set for 5 p.m. at Marist Catholic High School in Eugene.

Tigers ready for title defense

STANFIELD — The Stanfield baseball team put together an incredible run to a state championship in 2016, and now the Tigers are ready to do it again this year.

The Tigers start the Class 3A state tournament as the No. 1 seed, after completing a 22-2 overall record and a perfect 15-0 mark in the Eastern Oregon League. They start the tournament bearing the best offense in Class 3A, compiling 311 total runs — an average of 12.9 per game.

The first team standing in the Tigers way is the No. 16 Catlin Gabel Eagles, the second place finisher in the Lewis & Clark league. The first round match-up will take place on Wednesday with first pitch set for 4 p.m. at Madigan Field in Stanfield.

The Eagles went 10-8 overall and 8-4 in league play, and managed just 5.4 runs per game and allow an average of 4.8 runs.

The two teams played just one common opponent this season, Rainier, whom Stanfield swept 4-3 and 3-2 in a doubleheader on April 1. Meanwhile Catlin Gabel was swept by Rainier in three games this season by a combined score of 24-3.

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