Firecrackers win third in state

The Hood River Firecrackers girls softball team finished third at this week's Oregon State Tourÿnament in Portland, becoming the first 9-10 girls team from Hood River ever to place in the top three.

"This team surprised everyone," Coach Randy Kiyoÿkawa said. "To be the first team to place in the top three is a tremenÿdous accomplishment."

Kiyokawa stressed that the team's dream season was a total team effort, in which each player contributed to the team's success in her own way.

"This wasn't about one or two players," he said. "Everyone on the team helped us get where we are."

But the Firecrackers didn't just make it to state -- they made a serious run at the title. After losing the opening game 9-3 to Peninsula last weekend, the girls rallied to win the second game against Klamath Falls in convincÿing fashion by a score of 14-4.

The bats stayed hot Monday night against Cascade as Hood River rolled to an 11-5 victory. But it wasn't just the bats that were smoking. Pitcher Courtney Ewald went the distance and struck out 11 to ice the victory. The offensive stars were Kate Blumenthal (3-4) and Sarah Pritchett, who had three walks, a double, and scored three runs.

That set up a rematch against Peninsula on Tuesday night -- the game Kiyokawa termed a "reÿvenge match."

Maggie Edwards spearheaded the offense with two homeruns and four RBI's, while pitcher Auÿdrey Mallon silenced the Peninsuÿla bats with eight strikeouts in the 7-5 win. Blumenthal also conÿtributed greatly with her outfield defense, doubling up baserunners on in back-to-back innings to end scoring threats.

"Those two plays were the turnÿing point in the game," Kiyokawa said.

Guaranteed no worse than third place, the Firecrackers moved on to face Murray Hill Wednesday night. Things started off well, with Hood River leading 4-3 after two, but Murray Hill plated 14 runs in the third to put the game out of reach at 17-4.

Hood River's season has come to an endbut the memories will live on forever -- for kids and parents alike.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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