Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Scrum of the Earth

It's rugby season once again in Oregon. The Oregon Youth Rugby League kicked off its high school season in February and is heading towards playoffs in April. There are three boys divisions and one for the girls. Teams are primarily from the Oregon I-5 corridor...from Portland to Ashland. The Portland area matches are played at Lents Park in southeast Portland, with outlining teams playing at home fields such as Canby, McMinnville and Newberg. Matches are played on Saturdays in the earlier half of the day.

Are you a rugby fan? If so...stop by and watch a match. Don't know much about rugby, but love sports with great action?...get out to a match! The kids play their hearts out and the quality of play is very good. I highly recommend you get to an Eastside Monkeys match early and enjoy the pre-game Haka the side performs before the match kicks off. The Monkeys are an extremely strong team with some very talented players that has been dominating this year's Division 1 table.

The girls division has nine teams from the Portland and outlining areas, plus Corvallis and Eugene. The ladies go at it with the same heart and grit as the gents. West Linn Green has been a force in the league with teams from Lincoln High School and Corvallis in the thick of the mix.

The Oregon Spring weather isn't much fun for baseball right now...not worth heading out to the golf course check out the OYR League Schedule and catch a match...guaranteed you will enjoy the action, or your money back (the matches are free). More recent OYR League match photos at

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Diamond Rain

Any location north of the 45th parallel, it's tough to be a baseball or softball player. As spring training attracts the diamond fans to the Southwest Desert or the Gulf Coast, in locations such as Oregon, the opening of the baseball and softball seasons in March can seem to be an exercise in futility. Most of the action in the early season is not on the diamond, it's in the scheduler's office juggling games around rainouts. Nike, Wilson and Rawling warm-ups give way to gear from North Face and Columbia Sportswear.

In between the raindrops and despite chilling temperatures over the past couple of weeks, the high school boys and girls of Spring in Oregon braved the elements and kicked off the 2006 season. With a little luck, with daylight savings time will also come sunnier days and warmer weather that is more conducive to baseball and softball. Last year...the first day of high school baseball season was greeted with 70 degree temperatures and sunny skies. was a bit of a fluke...but is sure was a nice way to kick off the season.

Friday, March 24, 2006

It Doesn't Get a Whole Lot Better Than This!

Are you lacking a little excitement in your life? If so, then book the second week of March 2007 to spend some time at the OSAA Boys Basketball Championships. This year's tournament served up some thrilling down to the buzzer classics, including the championship final where the Lake Oswego Lakers survived a last second shot attempt by the South Medford Panthers to win the school's first basketball state championship 59-57.

If Jesuit makes another appearance in next year's yourself a ticket. In 2005, Jesuit claimed the state title in a miraculous come from behind, final seconds victory over Lake Oswego. This year, each of the Crusader's games were end-to-end excitement with victory teetering on the tipping point down to the final seconds. J-High ended up claiming the third place trophy...their sixth third place or better finish in eight years at the tournament. After loosing their star talent, Seth Tarver, to graduation, Jesuit may find it a bit difficult to extend this feat to a ninth year. But if they are in the tournament, you may want to be sure you're in the house when they're on the court.

OSAA Girls 4A Basketball Championships

A beginning of a new dynasty? The jury is still out. However, the Southridge Girls Basketball Team has stepped up to the elite level. The ladies proved to the Oregon basketball world that they are for real. In a classic thriller, the Skyhawks defeated the former queens of the court, Oregon City High School, to win the Oregon 4A High School Championship for the second year in a row. Can the Skyhawks repeat next year? That will be the big question as Southridge loose a few key players to graduation, but a core of talented underclassmen will be returning...and the ladies are disciplined, they play with passion and they are a very unified team. It will be an interesting season in 2007.

Unfortunately for me, I was not able to shoot the girls final as I had an assignment to cover a 4A Boys playoff for the Valley Times and the Oregon City News between Jesuit and Oregon City. I was able to shoot a handful of games leading up to the final and shot some feature photos for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Below are some shots from sub-round play.