By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Having faced Newport before, the Lady Eagles of the Stayton softball team were ready for the Cubs on Thursday.
The young defense of the Eagles was prepared, but Newport found the right spots at the right times during the early onset of the game to hold on to the lead for good, taking Game 2 of the three-game series 5-0.
But, after falling behind 5-0 early entering the bottom half of the fourth inning, Stayton didn’t give up. They continued to battle through the adversity behind freshman pitcher Kelsie Walker.
“I really felt like we stuck together as a team through everything that happened,” said Sydnee Neuharth.”Our fielding was pretty strong today, I felt like we did pretty well for what we had.”
With a player down due to illness, the Lady Eagles had to change things around in their line-up to adjust to the adversity at the team level Thursday.
However, the bats of Stayton had a tough time cracking the defense that Newport was giving them. Something that Head Coach Jeff Silbernagel knows his team needs to work on heading into week two of conference play.
“We got to be better at hitting, we got to hit the ball better,” said Silbernagel. “I think we got one hit tonight and two on the other night over there, so we didn’t get too many hits this week. “
The best hitting inning for the Eagles came in the sixth as they had Malya-Ikea Mario and Alexus Hemphill on third and second respectively with two outs. The inning would end, however, when Sarah VanHyning flyed-out to end the inning.
Walker settled in after the fifth inning as the defense bend but didn’t break by allowing hits but didn’t allow any runs for the remainder of the game.
Neuharth admitted that, through the ups and downs, they need to stick together. And that the Spring Break Crossover Tournament helped the team understand that.
“To stick together, through the ups and downs,” she said. “Because if we get down, then there’s no chance. We’ve stuck together a lot more because we went to a tournament over Spring Break, so that really brought our team together as a whole. So we’re better as a team this year than any year we’ve ever been.”
PHOTO GALLERY (PICTURES BY JEREMY MCDONALD)