South Umpqua players cheer toward their fans after beating Scio in the 3A softball final Friday at the University of Oregon.
South Umpqua players cheer toward their fans after beating Scio in the 3A softball final Friday at the University of Oregon.

EUGENE – For the first four innings Friday, it appeared as if South Umpqua would be lucky to scratch out a run against Scio junior pitcher Myleigh Cooper.

Then, in the fifth inning, the Lancers pushed open the floodgates.

Second-seeded South Umpqua exploded for seven runs on seven consecutive hits to pull away for a 9-1 win over the top-seeded Loggers in the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 3A softball final at the University of Oregon.

“We just decided that we had to get our energy up, and we did that,” said Lancers junior pitcher Reaghan Gilbert, who had a hit in the rally. “We finally started making good contact. Once we saw her for a few at-bats, we started getting on her. We got our nerves out. And then we just started to believe in ourselves, get confident in the box.”

South Umpqua (27-3) ended Scio's 22-game winning streak and avenged an 11-2 loss to the Loggers from last season. It's the first title for South Umpqua, which had never appeared in a state final.

“It means everything. This is history,” senior Ashlyn Vey said.

Sophomore Regan Ireland hit two RBI triples for the Lancers, who had 11 hits. Junior Mady Pratt went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and senior Kaydence Norton and junior Haley Twyman each had two hits and an RBI. Gilbert pitched a four-hitter with three strikeouts and three walks.

The Lancers peaked at the right time, according to coach JP Kelley.

“The last couple weeks we've been playing well,” Kelley said. “We played like crap a couple weeks ago. The last two weeks, they put all aspects of the game together. We're just playing solid softball.”

Scio took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Cooper walked and scored on a single to left field by sophomore Macy Johnson.

Cooper – who took the loss in last year's state final, a 1-0, 12-inning defeat to Burns – appeared to be in command Friday, striking out seven and allowing two hits through four innings.

But when the Lancers saw a crack in the door in the fifth inning, they barged through against Cooper, who entered with a 0.44 ERA.

“We spent a lot of time trying to make adjustments for speed, up and down,” Kelley said. “The girls made the adjustment, and you saw what happened. Offense just blew up.”

Senior Ava White walked and freshman Tessa Beam -- the No. 9 hitter -- followed with a single to left field that got past Scio sophomore left fielder Maggie Shook, allowing White to score the tying run and Beam to reach third base.

“With Tessa being our freshman, starting it off, getting Ava in, it was everything,” Vey said. “To have such a young player on our team, who's grown so far, it was huge. She did her job, and that meant that everybody else was going to. It was absolutely contagious.”

Twyman ripped a line-drive single off the glove of senior second baseman Khloe Free, driving in Beam to make it 2-1.

Vey hit a high drive to deep left field that a backpedaling Shook was unable to flag down, and by the time the Loggers could corral the ball, Vey was well on her way to a two-run, inside-the-park homer, extending the lead to 4-1.

Gilbert singled, then Norton and Ireland belted back-to-back RBI triples as the lead grew to 6-1. Pratt capped the rally with a run-scoring single.

The 7-1 lead gave Gilbert a nice cushion in the circle.

“It felt really good. I felt really confident in my defense,” Gilbert said. “I felt like I could kind of breathe and trust in everyone.”

The Lancers added two more runs in the seventh as Ireland hit her second RBI triple and Pratt drove her in with a sacrifice fly, making it 9-1.

Gilbert, a transfer from Roseburg, closed out the game with a perfect seventh inning.

“This is my first year with the team, and the girls are some of the hardest-working girls I've ever met,” Gilbert said. “I really think we all deserved this.”

The Cal Poly-bound Cooper finished with 13 strikeouts, giving her 268 in 135 2/3 innings this season. She also hit a double and drew two walks.

Scio (25-2), which appeared in its first final last year, is still seeking its first title. The Loggers have a bright future, considering Cooper is among eight starters eligible to return in 2025.