Eugene — Just like their 2A/1A counterparts, a first-time state title winner was to be decided in the 3A state championship between the Burns Highlanders and Yamhill-Carlton Tigers. Burns entered Friday’s championship riding a 29-game winning streak, including ending South Umpqua’s perfect season in the state semifinals in dominant 7-1 fashion. The Tigers cruised to the state title game, posting a trio of mercy rule victories and were considered the favorite to win the state title.
The red-hot Burns Highlanders started quick against Yamhill-Carlton, placing a pair of runners on after drawing walks. With some heads-up baserunning, Ayla Davies advanced to third on the walk by Lacie Tiller, eventually scoring on the next at-bat on a wild pitch to get Burns an early 1-0 lead over Yamhill-Carlton. Davies then took the circle for Burns, setting down the Tigers after a pair of walks placed two on base with one out in the inning, holding a 1-0 advantage after one inning. Kaya Dobson singled in the second inning for Burns, but a great defensive play by Lexiss Antle turned an inning-ending double play to get the Tigers out of the inning unscathed. Davies added three more strikeouts in the bottom of the second, holding Burns lead at 1-0 after two innings in Eugene.
With the rain coming down and dampening the field, things hit a standstill until the fifth inning, as neither team could muster much offensively. Mackenzie King singled to open the top of the fifth, advancing to second on a Dobson sacrifice bunt. Mattie Woodbury delivered a double to bring home King, extending Burns lead to 2-0 over Yamhill-Carlton. Davies added another run with a two-out RBI single that brought home Woodbury, making it 3-0 Highlanders after 4 1/2 innings at the 3A Championship. Bryason Conway and Lexiss Antle got themselves on second and third with one out in the fifth for Yamhill-Carlton, but Davies wiggled her way out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts to keep it a 3-0 game.
Roxanne Brown reached base to lead off the bottom of the sixth for Yamhill-Carlton, advancing to third when Ellis singled on a bunt and the Tigers had runners on the corners with no outs. Cecelia Petraitis grounded out to shortstop with one out, but it brought home Brown to get the Tigers on the board and trim the deficit down to 3-1 after six innings. Despite the energy boost and rally caps, Yamhill-Carlton was unable to claw out of the hole in the seventh, going down in order to Davies and Burns won their first title in school history with a 3-1 victory over the Tigers at Jane Sanders Stadium in Eugene. Ayla Davies threw a gem: Allowing five hits, a lone run, and striking out 14 to lead the Highlanders to the title and end 2022 with a 30-game winning streak to take into next season.