After a 10-day hiatus from Intermountain Conference play, the Hood River Valley baseball and softball teams return to action today, each hosting a double header against Mountain View.
Both teams hope to continue the momentum they built over the first three conference games — a stretch that saw the softball girls go 3-0 and the baseball guys go 2-1 — and establish themselves as legitimate playoff contenders.
The girls have less convincing to do than the boys, however.
The IMC softball race is essentially up for grabs, with three teams — HRV, Redmond and Pendleton — stepping forward at 3-0 to start the league season. Mountain View sits at 1-2 (8-7 overall), and won’t be willing to relinquish its playoff spot without a fight.
Bend (3-3, 9-5) and Hermiston (1-3, 4-10) are the other two teams that will be battling for the league’s four playoff spots, while the early returns for Summit and Crook County say, “next year.”
Meanwhile, on the boys side, Bend has jumped out to a 6-0 league start and a 14-4 overall record. One of the Lava Bears’ six wins came against preseason league favorite Redmond, which is currently in second place at 3-1 (11-3 overall).
HRV is in third place at 2-1 (5-8 overall), but has four teams — Crook County (2-3, 9-6), Mountain View (1-2, 5-8), Pendleton (1-2, 12-3) and Hermiston (1-3, 9-6) — right on its heels.
Pendleton had a difficult opening weekend, losing twice to Crook County. Hermiston lost its opening double-header to Bend and then lost to Redmond after beating HRV, 5-4, on April 15.
Both Pendleton and Hermiston earned playoff spots in 2002, along with Redmond and Mountain View.
The same four teams qualified out of the IMC for the 2002 softball playoffs.