Milton-Freewater pitching trio pummels opponents at Oregon Little League softball tourney

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HOOD RIVER, Ore. - Mallory Copeland, Kaitlyn Slusarenko and Tabitha Heckman combined for a one-hit first two rounds of the Oregon 9-10 Little League State Softball Tournament for Milton-Freewater here Friday and Saturday.

The potent pitching trio-backed by error-free defense-bumped host Hood River, 14-0, and the Portland Terminators, 17-0, from winner's bracket play in a pair of mercy-rule-shortened games.

Milton-Freewater posted runs in each inning of Friday's victory over Hood River, increasing its offensive output with each frame. M-F scored one in the first, one in the second, two in the third, four in the fourth and six runs in the final frame.

Copeland, toeing the rubber versus Hood River, threw five innings of one-hit shutout softball.

Saturday's game against the Portland Terminators was a runaway from the get-go. Milton-Freewater posted quads to the scoreboard in the first, second and third innings. A five-run fourth inning provided the finishing touch to the 17-0 romp.

Slusarenko and Heckman combined for a no-hitter in the four-inning shutout. Milton-Freewater's defense again proved solid, committing no errors in the game.

"I think the biggest thing is we've got three girls who can throw the heat," M-F manager Kelly Hahn said. "They've been placing the ball really well and the other teams are just not hitting them. I don't know if the others teams are just not used to (the speed of the pitches) or what."

Milton-Freewater faces Forest Grove at 11 a.m. Monday in the first semifinal game.

A victory over Forest Grove will send M-F to the winner's bracket championship contest on Wednesday.

"We expect the same result against Forest Grove," Hahn said. "We plan to walk away victorious. The girls want to do it. It's something they're really striving for."

Milton-Freewater's early dominance in the state tournament is not a surprise. So far this post-season, M-F has outscored its district and state playoff opponents by a count of 88-1.

Friday's Game

M-F 112 46 - 14 11 0

Hood River 000 00 - 0 1 0

Copeland and Fortune; Shelton, Munn (3), McNerrey (5) and Munn, Shelton (3).

HR- None

Hits - M-F: Lyon 2, Slusarenko 2, Copeland, Fortune, Heckman, Rodriguez 2; Hood River: Erickson.

Saturday's Game

M-F 444 5 - 17 10 0

Portland 000 0 - 0 0 2

Slusarenko, Heckman (4) and Copeland; Brauckmiller, Lopez (3), Golden (4) and Golden, Lopez (4).

HR - None

Hits - M-F: Lyon, Slusarenko, Shelton 2, Copeland, Fortune, Kelly, Jones, Heckman, Rodriguez; Portland: None.

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