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Taft girls golf, Hatton off to a strong season start

LINCOLN CITY — The Taft girls golf team is back in the swing of things, having already competed in two tournaments this season. The Tigers return their top golfers, with plenty of experience returning as they make a run for another district title. Taft graduated one senior from last year’s district championship team. With 11 players on the roster, eight — Maya Hatton, Olivia Baker, Violet Palermini, Sammy Halferty, Noa Stoll, Hannah Weaver, Jocelyn Arguello and Megan Jensen — are returning with at least two years of experience.

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Another quick game for No. 2 Toledo softball

TOLEDO — It was another short game for the Toledo softball team. For the third time in six games, the Boomers held a 10-run lead after five innings. On Tuesday, March 20 against Nestucca, sophomore infielder Rylee Richards drove home two runs to give the Boomers a walk-off 17-7 win in five innings. Playing in short games is all part of the plan for Toledo this season, the team goal is to finish games in five innings. “The less pitches we have to throw, the better it is for our pitching. It’s good for our catchers and less time we have to be out in the field,” said head coach Howie Richards. “The more time they have to be on the field, the more pitches they have to throw, the more their catcher has to work, it’s even better.”

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Stempel throws a no-no

It was the first time that Jack Stempel can recall throwing a complete no-hitter in his baseball career. On an 18th birthday that the Taft senior right-hander likely won’t forget, he didn’t allow a hit in Taft’s 28-0 win over Sheridan. Stempel has been on a tear in his last two starts. On Wednesday, he threw five complete innings, zero hits, one walk while shutting out the Spartans. It was Stempel’s second consecutive no-hitter. In his last start against Rainer on Saturday, March 24, Stemple threw six innings of no-hit ball and only walked one batter on 84 pitches. Bliez Kimbrough came in relief and didn’t allow a hit either, completing the combined no-hitter. In his last two starts, Stemple has thrown 11 innings without allowing a run or a hit and has only issued two walks. Against Sheridan, Stempel had command of his fastball and mixed in his curveball and changeup to keep the Sheridan batters at bay, which has been the norm for Stempel this season. “If you throw a no-hitter, everything has to work,” said head coach Matt Hilgers. “He’s been throwing well for us, we are glad to have him back this year.”

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One out from victory, Waldport falls to Reedsport

WALDPORT — All the Waldport softball team needed was one final out to beat Reedsport in a non-league game and improve to 3-0 on the season. Clinging to a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning, the Irish would commit three errors, allowing the Braves to rally and score four runs and steal a 6-4 victory on Monday, March 19. “One of the things we need to clean up, and it’s early in the season, is errors,” said head coach Alex Browne. “We win and lose by the state of our mind, we get this effect where one error leads to another error that leads to another error. And it’s hard to come back from that.”

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Life of Eddie: The Big Time

Part 3 of a 3-Part series In August 2013, while Eddie Townsend was getting his math endorsement at Waldport High School and before he would leave to take a job fishing in Alaska, he received a call from the hospital in Corvallis. It was about his mother. It was one of the handful of times that Townsend had heard from or about his mother since she had disappeared when he was in middle school. She had overdosed and was in a coma. When Bob and Robin Jacobson gained custody of a middle-school aged Townsend, one of the judge’s orders was that his mother was to keep contact with her son at least once a month. With the exception of one drunken phone call, she never came through. “Not once during that entire time that we had him did she ever try and contact him,” Bob Jacobson said. In adulthood, Townsend’s feelings toward her were complex. Due to drug use and failing organs, the doctors said that she was too far gone and the only thing keeping her alive was life-support. Townsend was forced to make a tough decision on whether to pull the plug.

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Life of Eddie: A dream on hold

In the spring of 2010, Eddie Townsend had just finished up his master’s program and was driving from Ashland to Newport to meet back up with his family and begin his career. He was ready to join the village of men — Kurt Hargett, Rod Losier, Mark Moore, Jim Ashard — who had helped turn him from a kid who he said was destined for prison into a man ready to make a similar impact to the one they had made on him. “I remember thinking that I need to set a new standard for who I am and what I’m doing,” Townsend said. “I just wanted to get a teaching job and have a career. It was exciting. I lived in Ashland for eight years, I was excited to come back and pour into the community. “I wanted to prove that I’m not the kid I was in high school, set a new standard for who I am and a new framework for who I am.”

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Newport wins season opener

NEWPORT — The Newport softball team kicked off its season with a 3-0 victory over Gladstone on Tuesday, March 13. Senior Sophie Dziak finished with two hits and two RBIs while freshman Hattie Imbler-Bremner dominated in the circle, pitching a complete-game shutout. “I think we have space to improve,” Dziak said. “That’s common for the first game of the year, but I thought we played well in certain areas, probably the best we have in a while in our first games. We should feel pretty confident, I think we did great.” In her high school debut, Imbler-Bremner went the distance, tossing a one-hitter while only walking two Gladstone batters and not allowing a run.

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Final game cements Newport’s legacy

FOREST GROVE — The plan was to bury the third-place trophy. It comes as no surprise that Newport wanted nothing to do with playing in the third-place game of the 4A state tournament. The team had one goal all season — to win a state championship — and came up four points short of reaching that goal in the semifinal round loss to Seaside. With a game still left to play after the gut-wrenching loss, head coach Doug Sain told his team that they have until midnight, only a couple of hours, to mourn the loss of coming up short of a season-long goal. It was a task easier said than done. “It was tough, obviously it doesn’t go that way,” said senior Jack Fisher. “You wake up in the morning still not happy.” “It was tough knowing that you give it your best and you come up short,” added senior Kye Blaser. “It’s tough knowing that giving everything you had wasn’t enough to get the W.” Even the head coach wasn’t sure what the final game of the season would bring following Friday’s demoralizing loss to the eventual state champion Seaside. “We were devastated, somewhere before 11 a.m. we didn’t care,” Sain said. “We were going to bury the third place trophy if we got it, and somewhere around 11 a.m., Kye said, “alright, I feel like winning.” And then from there we had a fun day to be together as a team, by the time we got here we were loose and focused.”

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Cubs respond to take third

Twenty-four seconds into Newport’s third-place game of the 4A state tournament, Doug Sain called a timeout to have a heart-to-heart with his team in its final game of the season. The game that the Cubs won 68-51 to claim the third-place trophy started with a lackadaisical pass and an attempted one-handed catch, resulting in a turnover on the Cubs’ opening possession against the top-seeded Banks Braves Saturday evening at Forest Grove High School. “I just wanted to come and play the right way,” Sain said. “We were going to make solid passes, we were going to catch it with two hands, you’re going to pivot, face the rim, you’re going to do everything the right way and we’ll see what happens. From then on, I thought we did really well.” The pep-talk 24 seconds into the game didn’t yield immediate results. Banks scored eight-straight points to take a seven-point lead midway through the first quarter. But a Kye Blaser three put an end to the run to the Banks run and jump-started what would turn into a 28-3 run by the Cubs before halftime.

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Additional Articles

  • Column: Spring is coming

    I had a couple thoughts on my drive up to Lincoln City to cover Taft’s game against Sheridan Wednesday evening. First, I was trying to remember if Taft had a turf field or not. I remember the days of having games rained out, rescheduled or canceled — but that was also before the time when turf fields became the norm. What was the plan if the game had been rained out? Luckily and smartly, Taft indeed had a turf field and was able to play. As the rain continued to fall I found myself wishing that I was going to cover a basketball game. I was suffering from a winter sports hangover. If I’m being perfectly honest, I wasn’t ready for the winter sports season to end, with only about 7 percent of it being because I could’ve been indoors and avoided the elements altogether. The other 93 percent is because it was just an awesome winter. From mid-November up until a week ago, I’m having a hard recalling a time when I didn’t want to go to the gym, or the pool, or wrestling room. It was jam-packed with good players, great teams and intriguing storylines. A sports writer’s dream. In case you hibernated during the Winter, here are the quick highlights: Waldport has one of its best starts in boys basketball, winning its first five games of the season. Isaac Butler becomes Siletz Valley’s first-ever state champion in wrestling, winning the 182-pound weight class. The Newport swim team dominating its way to the school’s first state championship. Newport cheer coming within a point of finishing first at state. The Newport girls basketball going toe-to-toe in the state’s toughest conference and advancing into the first round of the playoffs for the first time in over five years.

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Run for the Clover

Action from Waldport's home meet on Friday, March 17

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