MILTON-FREEWATER - Oregon's Junior and Senior Little League state softball tournaments begin here Saturday at Yantis Park and the Cannery/Seneca Field.
The Junior tourney for girls ages 13-14 has seven teams from around the state while the Senior tourney for girls 15-16 includes three teams. The winners of each tournament will advance to regional competition.
Milton-Freewater's Senior Little League squad is one of three battling for a regional ticket. The M-F girls, representing District 3, will be joined by teams from Gold Valley (District 8) and Clackamas (District 2).
The first game of the double-elimination tourney is at 6 p.m. Saturday at Cannery/Seneca Field. The winner advances faces Milton-Freewater Sunday at Yantis Park at 6 p.m.
The losers of the first two games square off Monday at 6 p.m. at Cannery/Seneca Field, with the loser of that game eliminated. The winner advances to Tuesday's championship game at Yantis Park, beginning at 6 p.m. If a second game is needed, it will be played Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Yantis Park.
Members of the Milton-Freewater squad are Jolene Brannan, Karris Carrillo, Amanda Contreras. Karli Cortez, Brianna Crewse, Erika Griffith, Cheyenne Kessler, Meghan Kimball, Brittney Kralman, Haylee Ledford, Mariah McElrath, Megan Reed and Shaute Robert. Chris Robert is the team's manager and Bob Christian and Marty Meissner are the coaches.
Most of the girls on the team will be striving to make regionals for the first time. Last year, as Juniors, the team reached the state finals before being eliminated.
This year's regional tournament will be played in Montana.
The Junior state field will be divided into two pools
Teams entered in Pool A are Gresham-Clackamas (District 2), Klamath Falls (District 6), Peninsula/Lakeside (District 1) and Sprague/Southwest (District 7). Pool B teams are Columbia (District 5), Brookings Harbor (District 8) and Grant County (District 3).
Grant County defeated Milton-Freewater's Junior team in the District 3 championship game last week in Baker City.
Pool play games are at 9 a.m. Saturday and noon at Yantis Park and at 3 p.m. at Cannery/Seneca Field. Sunday's schedule calls for pool play games at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Yantis Park and noon at Cannery/Seneca Field. All games on Monday will be played at Yantis Park, beginning at 9 a.m.
Tuesday's semifinals - the top teams from each pool matching up against the second-place teams from the opposite pool - will be played Tuesday at noon and 3 p.m. The championship game is slated for Wednesday at noon, with the winner advancing to the regional tournament in Arizona.
A third state tournament - the Junior-Senior Big Girl tournament for girls 17-18 - was also scheduled for Milton-Freewater. But since there was just one Oregon entry, the team has received a bye and will advance directly to regional play.
Cheryl Copeland is serving as the tournament director for both of the tournaments that will be played here.