By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
It wasn't an easy road, but the 9- and 10-year-old Brookings-Harbor All-Star softball team won the District 8 Championship in Rogue River and will be participating in the state tournament beginning Thursday, July 12.
"They did some excellent ball-playing," Coach Peggy Goergen said. "They came back and they persisted. They learned how to turn off outside influences and focus on the game."
The All-Stars went 2-2 in pool play, beating Central Point and Gold Valley and losing to Medford and Rogue River.
In the first game, Hannah Goergen and Courtney Kay combined to pitch a no-hitter in Brookings' 17-4 win.
Goergen pitched the first four innings, striking out 10 batters, while Kay pitched the final inning, striking out one batter and preserving the no-hitter.
The team combined for 11 hits, led by Goergen and Iva Hart, who each went 2-for-3 from the plate. Xochitl Medina also laid down two bunts that she ran out for base hits.
The only ball hit into play the entire day was gobbled up by second baseman Hannah Baron.
Game two was a little different story as the All-Stars ran into Medford and ace pitcher Brooke Anderson in a 14-2 loss.
Halle Ostman got the only hit for Brookings while Kay pitched four strong innings, fanning six batters.
The All-Stars rebounded in game three as Ostman and Goergen combined for another no-hitter in a 16-1 victory over Gold Valley.
Ostman went three innings with four strikeouts and Goergen closed the game in the final inning with two strikeouts.
The team had nine hits on the day, led by Kaitlin Saphiloff, who went 3-for-4 from the plate and scored two runs.
Savannah Rucker, the lone representative from Gold Beach, helped the scoring with a bases-clearing triple in the fourth.
The final game of pool play turned out to be an epic back-and-forth battle in which the All-Stars fell to Rogue River 23-22.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, Kaylee Gorman hit a double and became the tying run.
But the Rogue River defense made an outstanding play to rob Taylor Ostman of the game-tying hit and end the game.
Goergen pitched five inning, striking out seven, while Hart led the team from the plate, going 3-for-4.
After going 2-2 in pool play, the All-Stars entered the single elimination bracket as the third and final seed.
In the first game, Brookings turned the tide on a Medford team that shut them down earlier in the week and took home an 11-5 semifinal win.
Halle Ostman shut down the Medford bats, pitching all six innings, striking out 12 batters while only allowing two hits.
The team combined for 11 hits, led by Saphiloff's 3-for-4 performance from the plate, which included an inside-the-park home run. Ostman also went 2-for-4.
After faring well against the first pitcher, Medford sent in their ace, Anderson, in the fourth inning, hoping she would have continued success against the All-Stars.
But the girls had been practicing with the help of Coach Jessie Goergen, who imitated the pitching style of Anderson, in preparation for their next meeting.
"Jessie helping the players find the rhythm of other pitchers really helped them get in a groove," Manager Willy Goergen said. "It's nice to have a First Team Far West League pitcher on your coaching staff."
The practice paid off and the girls shelled Anderson, sending them into the championship game against Rogue River.
Once again, the two teams provided the crowd with an exciting game, but this time it was Brookings who came out on top with a 13-11 win.
After five innings, the All-Stars led by only two runs, but exploded for six runs in the top of the sixth, aided by a bases clearing triple by Halle Ostman, which gave Brookings a 13-5 lead.
But Rogue River would not go away quietly, and rallied for six runs in their half of the inning before Goergen struck out the final two batters and ended the game.
Ostman and Kay each had two hits on the day.
"You could tell that in the last game, they really had no fear," parent and statistician Tony Baron said. "They have progressed so much and their confidence level is really up."
After regrouping and taking down the top two seeds, the girls are excited, confident and ready for anything.
"I think we're going to win state," a confident Halle Ostman said before practice Thursday afternoon, while teammate Kaylee Gorman chimed in with, "We're gonna crush em!"