The state playoffs begin today for the Pendleton and Hermiston baseball and softball teams. Here's a quick breakdown of those matchups:
Pendleton vs. St. Helens
As fate has it, the only game Pendleton baseball cancelled this season was against the same team it will face in a state playoffs play-in game today at 5 p.m. in Pendleton.
Supposed to meet on April 2 at St. Helens, the teams will instead play at Bob White Field today. Pendleton (22-2) is the clear favorite to win as Oregon's top-seeded Class 5A team.
St. Helens (8-11) has lost 11 of its last 13 contests and holds a No. 21 ranking. The Lions dropped most of those by double figures, scoring 6.3 runs per game and allowing 8.5 on average this season.
Pendleton scored an average of 9.5 runs per game while holding opponents to 3.2 this year. The Buckaroos are coming off two road wins over No. 8 Hermiston (16-9), and went undefeated through 18 games.
About the only promising news for St. Helens is that the Lions won two of their last three games. They lost 10-4 to Sherwood last Thursday.
Ranked No. 471 nationally, Pendleton sits above the national average in five team categories. Those include a .407 batting average with a .931 fielding percentage behind it.
Hermiston vs. Sandy
Like most play-in games do, Hermiston versus Sandy baseball looks lopsided on paper.
Hermiston (16-9) is the No. 8-ranked Class 5A team in Oregon and, holding a losing record, Sandy (9-15) is No. 24. The teams will play today at 5 p.m. at Weber Field in Hermiston.
While the Bulldogs lead Sandy in every significant statistical category, both teams are coming off poor ends to their seasons. Hermiston lost its last three games - two to No. 1 Pendleton -?and Sandy dropped four of its last five.
Sandy's ratio of runs scored to runs allowed is slanted negatively. The Pioneers scored 6.3 runs on average and gave up 7.9 per game this season. Hermiston averages nearly eight runs per game and allows 6.5.
Hermiston's more impressive stats include a .487 slugging percentage and .928 fielding percentage.
Pendleton vs. Sherwood
Although Pendleton softball will not host its state play-in versus Sherwood, the Buckaroos should have a nice shot at victory today.
The teams meet in the play-in round today in Sherwood at 5 p.m.
Pendleton (14-10) competed in possibly Oregon's toughest Class 5A league this year and escaped with a No. 5 state ranking. Sherwood (11-11) is ranked No. 14 and had a .500 season.
A trend that could play a factor is the opposite way in which the teams finished their regular seasons. Pendleton lost three of its last four games to No. 3 Hermiston, and Sherwood won three of its last four.
In terms of runs scored and allowed, Pendleton has a statistical advantage. The Bucks score five runs per game on average and allow 3.5, while Sherwood scores 4.9 and concedes 4.5 per game.
Hermiston vs. Wilsonville
If state rankings play into effect, Hermiston softball will cruise to a Round of 16 state playoff game with a win over Wilsonville today.
Hermiston (16-8) took second place in a grueling Columbia River Conference to No. 1-ranked The Dalles Wahtonka this season. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 3 in?Class 5A, and Wilsonville (12-13) is No. 21 with a losing record.
Today's game will be held in Hermiston at 4 p.m.
Making for an interesting offensive battle, both teams score 7.3 runs on average per game. Hermiston's defense is superior on paper, allowing 4.9 runs per game to Wilsonville's 6.1.
Another trend that favors Hermiston is the way the Bulldogs finished their season. Hermiston beat No. 5 Pendleton three out of four times, while Wilsonville dropped three of its last four games and five out of its last six.