Oakridge — The year started off slow for the Oakridge Warriors, kicking off 2022 with an 0-4 record with losses to Eastern Oregon squads and 3A Harrisburg / Mohawk. Since entering league play, the Warriors have ripped an eight-game winning streak and kicked off with an 8-0 record in league, handing them sole possession of first place entering a rough stretch against Glide and North Douglas, the preseason top teams in the league. For Oakridge, this will be the test of how legitimate they are in being considered a contender in the 2A/1A landscape.
Skeptics of this undefeated start point to the competition that Oakridge has faced in league play, four opponents with a combined 31.6% winning percentage this season, and with Lowell being the only opponent in that stretch to have a winning record. Others have mentioned the final scores from their losses in comparison to their victories, albeit a weak criticism or critique of their hot start to league play. In all levels of sports, defeating the competition that you are supposed to is a good sign, showing that you take care of business when you need to and are prepared for a challenge when it presents itself. On Friday, the Warriors mercy ruled Glendale 12-2 in the first game, while they played a tug of war in the second one before pulling away 12-6 to complete the sweep.
Ignoring the non-conference stains, their resurgence has been fueled by offensive output from multiple resources. Jade Snyder has been absolute money since entering league play, kicking off the party with a 4-5 debut combined in with a dinger and 7 RBI against Lowell. Sister Sadie Snyder threw a 5-hit shutout in the rematch against the Red Devils, while also spearheading the offense with a 3-5 performance, two doubles, and 5 RBI from the plate. In that two-game set with Lowell, Triniti Mason hit for three doubles, a homer, and 6 RBI. We also cannot forget Kaili Kirkhart: She went off for two doubles, a triple, a homer, and 5 RBI in those games. This start to league play against Lowell has almost unequivocally spearheaded the momentum that has them sitting at a perfect 8-0 record.
Since the Lowell sweep, each time out has featured someone different to take control and run the offensive machine. Game 1 vs Elkton: Sadie Snyder, Game 2 vs Elkton: Kaili Kirkhart, Game 1 vs Oakland: Erika Jones, Game 2 vs Oakland: Jade Snyder, Game 1 vs Glendale: Kirkhart and Sadie Snyder, Game 2 vs Glendale: Trinite Perales. If diversity in a lineup is what you are looking for, look no further than the red-hot Warriors. Anyone can step up in any game for them, which is key when facing Glide and North Douglas, along with eventually Monroe down the road.
To play devil’s advocate: Sure, the six or more runs allowed against each league opponent in at least one game isn’t a pretty look, but neither is Glide allowing eight runs to a beat-up Riddle team, nor North Douglas allowing six runs against Glide. No team is perfect and in the smaller leagues, offense isn’t anything short in almost any game. Pitching is great, but in 2A/1A your offense is what will get you through the gauntlet. On Friday, the Warriors retained perfection ahead of their matches with Glide next week, a team that sits 7-1 in league and split with league favorite North Douglas. What next week holds aren’t yet known but make it a note that Oakridge is no joke, they know they aren’t a joke, and their record isn’t a Mickey Mouse one, it is one made from a legitimate squad looking to prove the skeptics wrong.