Oregon team wins tourney game only to be told it actually lost

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

They won the game. The scoreboard showed as much. What the Sunset (Ore.) High softball players really wanted to understand on Tuesday night was how they were handed a loss in what they thought was a 4-3 win at an early season softball tournament at Oregon's Hood View Park.

Sunset High School softball
Sunset High School softball

According to the Portland Oregonian, the answer to that riddle has everything to do with a bizarre tournament rule aimed at maximizing the amount of games played in limited sunlight, and nothing to do with ensuring runs scored by Sunset actually counted on the scoreboard. Trailing Oregon City (Ore.) High, 3-2, entering the top of the seventh, Sunset rallied to score two runs and take a 4-3 lead.

Yet, when the all-too-appropriately named Sunset went to go defend that lead, it was told that there was suddenly not enough time to complete the final inning, thanks to a tournament time limit on individual games.

That meant the score would revert to that of the last inning completed, restoring Oregon City's lead much to the confusion of both teams. Once the rule was eventually explained to both teams, Oregon City celebrated a somewhat hollow-feeling season-opening victory while Sunset was left to fume -- and deny acceptance of -- a truly bizarre loss.

"It's a win in our book," Sunset junior pitcher Jessie Moore told the Oregonian.

It's understandable that Moore and her teammates would feel that way. Through six innings, the junior ace struck out six and allowed just five hits, all of which came in a first inning barrage that gave the Pioneers a 3-0 lead.

That's when the Apollos' offense clicked into gear, rallying with single runs in the fourth and sixth before its two-run breakthrough in the seventh, a rally which should have given Sunset the win -- Moore had retired 13 straight Oregon City batters heading to the bottom of the seventh -- only to be undone by an obscure official rule.
While the official result was frustrating, Sunset coach Spencer Mills took plenty of positives away from the tournament as his team looks to fill in significant holes left by graduations following back-to-back Class 6A state champion teams.

"We haven't been able to get outside, so it's all machine work," Mills told the Oregonian. "I'm not worried about our hitting at all. We lost seven starters, so we're trying to get them acclimated to being starters now."

A come-from-behind victory against a talented Oregon City would have helped bring more confidence to that acclimation process. In a sense, the Apollos achieved that, though officially the victory was a moral one alone.

"I definitely think we still have the ability to win the Metro (League)," Moore said. "I have no doubt in this team that we can do the exact same thing and continue the legacy that those girls left."

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