Ryan Sparks
Curry Coastal Pilot

The Brookings-Harbor High School baseball and softball teams have qualified for the play-in round of the 4A OSAA State Championship and, as of Monday morning, we know their play-in round opponents.

Bruin Baseball

The Bruins baseball team, second place finishers in the Far West League and ranked 18 in the OSAA 4A section, will host Cascade High School at 5 p.m. this Friday.

Cascade (15-7, 9-6) finished in third place in the Oregon West Conference and are ranked 12. They only allowed 79 runs this season but their offense has only once scored more than five runs in a game since April 15. Most of the Cougar wins have been tight, close ballgames.

BHHS (15-9, 11-7) had what can be described as a topsy-turvy season. After starting the season 2-2, the Bruins went on a seven game win streak, with six of those games on the road. They then went on to lose six out of seven games before righting the ship to finish the season winning five of six, two of those coming by forfeit.

Entering the final two games of the regular season the Bruins had to win to assure themselves of a home playoff game and second place finish in league. By sweeping South Umpqua, the Bruins get to host a play-in game, the first time a playoff game will be hosted at BHHS since 2007.

The Bruins are led by senior catcher Izak Ehlers, who is a strong candidate for league first team and player of the year honors. Ehlers led BHHS in nearly every offensive category, hitting .365 with 15 stolen bases and 20 RBIs. He has also only struck out seven times in 74 at-bats this season.

Other offensive stars include infielder Justin Murray (.338, 28 runs, 20 walks), Ronnie Manley (.328, 18 runs) and Christian Hooper (.323, 21 hits).

The Bruins butter their bread with the pitching staff that has a combined ERA of 2.30 and has struck out 184 batters in 158 2/3 innings.

Senior righty Wyatt Aldrich is the ace of the staff and likely to get the call to the mound for Friday's play-in game. Aldrich has a 1.45 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched this season.

Unlike many other high school teams, the Bruins have at least five arms they can turn to on the mound. Manley (1.79 ERA), Chandler Dodd (1.80 ERA) and Murray (28 K's in 26 1/3 IP) have all totaled more than 20 innings each on the rubber this season. Ehlers (2.94 ERA, 21 K's) has also contributed over 16 innings pitched, most in relief.

If the Bruins play solid defense behind the pitching staff and can get over that five run barrier that seems to plague Cascade, they should be able to produce a win at home on Friday.

Lady Bruin Softball

The Lady Bruins softball team, third place finishers in the Far West League, will travel to Klamath Falls to play the Mazama Vikings at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

BHHS is ranked 16th in the state rankings while Mazama, which finished in second place in the Skyline Conference, is ranked 22nd with a 15-9 overall and 9-3 league record.

The Lady Bruins (19-6, 13-5) should have an advantage in the pitching department over the Vikings. Mazama has given up 142 runs this season compared to BHHS' 76. The Lady Bruins also played in a much tougher Far West league that sent four teams (South Umpqua, Douglas, BHHS and Marshfield) to the playoffs. Only league champion Henley and second place Mazama finished with a record above .500 in the Skyline League.

BHHS is a tight-knit group led by a slew of senior talent, many of whom have played softball together since they were in grammar school.

BHHS' offense is balanced and dangerous. Mariahn Seavello led the Lady Bruins in hitting with a .455 average on a team that hit an eye-catching .364. Ten of the 12 Lady Bruins on the roster hit .320 or higher. Seven BHHS players had 13 RBIs or more and four scored more than 20 runs this season, led by shortstop Hannah Baron's 31.

The Lady Bruins were also thieves on the basepaths this year, stealing 164 bases. Baron led the way with an astonishing 40 swipes followed by Megan Strain's 24 steals and Seavello's 20 thefts.

BHHS' pitching has also been impressive. Senior Hannah Goergen has had the bulk of the workload on the bump and compiled a 9-5 record with a 1.44 ERA in 87 1/3 innings. She threw a no-hitter against North Bend on April 18. When Goergen isn't baffling batters on the mound the Lady Bruins turn to hurler Courtney Kay, who mustered an 8-1 record with a 2.73 ERA.

Though they are playing on the road, the Lady Bruins, with their offensive prowess and Goergen's pitching, should be the favorite to advance over Mazama.