Zanni leads Pirates past Grizzlies in softball tilt

Phoenix junior Meranda Zanni struck out 11 Ashland batters in a complete-game effort and helped her own cause by going 3-for-5 at the plate with two doubles and five RBIs in the nonconference tilt at North Mountain Park.

Also for Phoenix (3-0), Hailey Wyncoop was 2-for-5 with two RBIs, Makayla Scoggins 3-for-5 with three runs scored and Delanie Tally 3-for-6 with a triple and an RBI.

Nicole Lehman had a double for Ashland (0-3).

Phoenix 101 028 6 — 18 13 3

Ashland 302 000 0 — 5 9 5

Zanni and Wyncoop; S. Williams, Lehman, G. Williams, Howson (7). W — Zanni (3-0). 2B — P: Zanni 2; A: Lehman. 3B — P: D. Tally.

Men's Basketball

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Former Ashland High all-star Rory Blanche scored a team-high 16 points to lead Western Washington past Stonehill College, 71-66, in the NCAA Division II national semifinals Thursday at the Bank of Kentucky Center.

The victory earned the Vikings their first-ever national championship game appearance.

Blanche, the 2007 Skyline Conference player of the year, hit 7 of 10 shots, including his only 3-point attempt, while pulling down six rebounds in 22 minutes of action for Western Washington. The senior forward had nine points and five boards in the second half to help the Vikings open up a 20-point lead.

Blanche also was clutch for Western Washington, hitting a jump shot with 1 minute, 41 seconds to go and dishing out an assist less than a minute later to help the Vikings fight off Stonehill's last-gasp rally.

The NCAA Division II national championship game will be played Saturday at the same site.

College Track and Field

The Southern Oregon track and field team heads to Chico, Calif., this week for Saturday's Chico State Wildcat Invitational.

The event is the second full meet of SOU's 2012 outdoor season and comes on the eve of spring break for the student-athletes. After back-to-back meets, the Raiders will have next week off.

"We're looking forward to this weekend and competing hard," SOU coach Grier Gatlin said. "Finals week is over, which is always good because everyone gets pretty stressed out and needs a little stress reliever. This meet couldn't come at a better time for us."

The Raiders posted numerous strong performances at last weekend's Hornet Invitational. Southern Oregon picked up a pair of individual titles and four national automatic qualifying marks at the event.

Eric Avila won the 5,000-meter run and posted the third-best time in the NAIA this season with a mark of 14 minutes, 33.14 seconds. Avila won the race by almost 10 seconds over the second-place runner, and he was named Cascade Collegiate Conference Red Lion Men's Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week Monday after earning the automatic bid to nationals.

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