Fall Fest to kick off season for Oregon squad

With everyone focused on the Oregon-Washington football game on Saturday, it would be easy to miss the Fall Fest Tournament hosted by the Oregon softball team at Howe Field. It’s a small, five-team round robin event set for Oct. 24 and Oct. 25 in which teams will play shortened, one-hour-and-15-minute games.

Invited are Chemeketa Community College, Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, Southwestern Oregon Community College and College of the Redwoods. Columbia Basin Community College was also invited but had to withdraw because a few members on the team are sick.

The competition will be good for the new-look Ducks with first-year head coach Mike White. The Ducks return 14 letter-winners and seven starters, and White said the girls are anxious to get out on the field and play someone besides themselves.

“It’s going to be a good challenge for us,” White said. “We’re excited to see them come together as a team.”

White said that he’s going to use the five games over the weekend to gauge where his team is and also mix it up, trying people and new positions. The team has been practicing since the week before school started in mid-September, but this will be his first look at the team against live pitching. They had a week of two-a-days, which White said left everyone a little sore despite working out all summer, but he’s been happy with the progress.

“Things have gone well so far,” White said. “I’m pleased with the effort and focus.”

After Sunday, the team won’t play again until Feb. 12, and they will go into individual workouts until Thanksgiving. White said it’s a good chance to break down each athlete and fix mechanics in a swing or throw and build them back up better.

Saturday’s game against Chemeketa will be White’s debut game, and it starts at 10:30 a.m. The last game of the day is slated to start at 4:30 p.m. with action picking back up Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. when SOU plays the College of the Redwoods.

On the final day the games are extended to an hour and 45 minutes. The Ducks are slated to play SWOCC at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday for the final game of the tournament.

The Fall Fest will also be the first games for Oregon freshmen Allie Burger (outfield), Kaylan Howard (infield), Jessica Moore (pitcher) and Samantha Pappas (outfielder).

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