As of Wednesday, May 24, 2017
DALLAS — Dallas’ softball team made history, but the celebration will have to wait.
After finishing league play with a perfect 18-0 record for the first time in school history, the top-ranked Dragons host No. 16 Parkrose Wednesday (today) at 4:30 p.m. in the first round of the state playoffs.
“At this point in the season, we are just fine tuning all aspects of the game,” coach Brandi Jackson said. “This team comes out and works hard every day and it is paying off. I couldn’t be more proud of these girls.”
Parkrose finished 7-18 overall and 5-12 in Northwest Oregon Conference play — but Jackson knows regular season records mean little at this point.
“I don’t know many details about Parkrose, but I do know that anything can happen in the playoffs, so it will be important for us to do what we have all season, which is play our game,” Jackson said. “We need to have quality at-bats, play solid defense and have consistency on the (pitcher’s) mound.”
Dallas has excelled in all three areas during Mid-Willamette Conference play.
The Dragons led the MWC in runs scored (257) and fewest runs allowed (91), and enters the playoffs with confidence.
The Dragons boast arguably one of the deepest and most talented lineups in 5A, but just as important as talent is playing up to their potential every time they step onto the field.
“Consistency is something we have focused on all year,” Jackson said. “Being consistent on both sides of the ball is key.”
Consistency is something the Dragons have had in spades.
Catcher Lauren Wallace was named the league’s co-player of the year, while Kaelynn Simmons earned Pitcher of the Year honors. In addition, Olivia Nelson earned first team all-league honors; Jayden Wynia, Zoe Whitlow and Ashlee Lichtenberger received second team all-MWC recognition; and Emma Classen and Jordan Dippel earned honorable mentions. Jackson was named Coach of the Year.
The key to Dallas’ success is never being satisfied and knowing from here on out, one bad game could mean the end of the season.
“The girls know that with success we have had during league that opposing teams from here on out are hungry to beat us,” Jackson said. “We do a great job of playing our game and playing to win, not playing not to lose. There is a big difference.”
The winner advances to the quarterfinals on Friday against the winner of No. 9 Lebanon vs. No. 8 Eagle Point.
The state semifinals will take place May 30.