N. Medford 3
S. Salem 5
N. Medford 3
KEIZER — Sisters came looking for revenge, but pitcher Jon Guzman and an experienced Henley team had other ideas.
Guzman threw a no-hitter and struck out 12 batters as the Hornets crushed the title hopes of the Outlaws with a 10-0 victory in the Class 4A baseball state championship game at Volcanoes Stadium on Saturday.
Sisters (25-5) also hurt themselves with four errors in the game.
“We just didn’t come out fully mentally prepared for a state final game,” said Sisters starting pitcher Justin Harrer. “All of these kids here, it was their first state appearance. It’s a whole new ballgame when you come into the state finals. Henley was ready, and we just didn’t come ready to play.”
Last season, Henley of Klamath Falls came from behind to defeat Sisters 2-1 in the state semifinals. In this year’s final, it was never that close.
Sisters shortstop Jardon Weems dropped a high fly ball in the top of the first inning, and Drew Seater scored from second base to give Henley (29-1) an early 1-0 lead.
“I thought the first and second innings were the big turning points,” said Outlaws coach Steve Hodges.
“There’s no reason for them to be on the board in the first inning.”
Guzman’s solo home run over the right-field fence in the top of the fourth gave the Hornets a 2-0 lead.
Sisters’ best chance to score came in the bottom of the fourth inning, when Joey Morgan went from first to third base after an errant pickoff attempt by Guzman. But the Hornets’ standout hurler retired the next three batters to end the threat.
“We had a runner on third base and no outs, and it’s a 2-0 game, that was a huge momentum switch,” Hodges said.
Henley opened the floodgates in the fifth and the sixth, scoring five runs in those two innings combined.
In the fifth, Josh Overstreet singled to left field to score Seater from third base and give the Hornets a 3-0 lead. Later in the inning, Chase Fernlund dropped a bunt down the third-base line, and Harrer, coming off the mound, scooped it up but threw the ball over first baseman Cody Kreminski’s head. That error scored two unearned runs as Henley took a 5-0 lead.
The Hornets secured the victory in the sixth, as Overstreet ripped a double down the left-field line that scored three runs and gave Henley an extremely comfortable 8-0 lead.
Harrer pitched five innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits.
“They’re a great hitting team,” Harrer said of Henley. “I don’t think I pitched my best, but also they were hitting my spots. I was trying to keep the ball low, and when I missed, they hurt me pretty bad.”
Sisters catcher Joey Morgan, who has signed to play for Oregon next season, said the Outlaws just did not make the plays when they needed to.
“We had a lot of errors in key situations, and we gave them a lot of freebies that we shouldn’t have,” Morgan said. “We knew what we had to do, and we just didn’t get it done. We didn’t have our best at-bats today. In the first inning, when we had that error right off the bat, it kind of set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Guzman, who also no-hit Klamath Union earlier this season, blanked an Outlaws team that had never even been shutout this season.
“We practice every practice like it’s a playoff game, high intensity all the time,” Guzman said. “Most of my class has played varsity since they were sophomores, so we’re pretty experienced.”
Hodges said he was still proud of the Outlaws’ season. Sisters graduated five seniors from last year’s squad, while Henley only lost two seniors from last season’s state title team.
“Losing five seniors, you don’t think you’re going to end up in the state championship game,” Hodges said. “It’s a real credit to the kids’ development.”
Sisters’ appearance in the 4A title game marked the third straight year that a baseball team from Central Oregon played for a state championship. The Outlaws are the seventh Central Oregon program ever to advance this far in the baseball postseason dating back to the OSAA’s first title contest in 1946.
Henley, in its seventh trip to the state final, became the 12th team in Oregon to win back-to-back state championships.
—Reporter: 541-383-0318, firstname.lastname@example.org .