By Jeremy McDonald
Lady Eagles Resilient In Heartbreaker, Baseball Splits
STAYTON, Ore.– Resilience. Fighting till the end. The list goes on.
It was the best way to describe how the Stayton Lady Eagles softball team fought in their 7-5 loss to rival Cascade Wednesday afternoon.
By the end of the fourth inning, the scoreboard read in favor of the Lady Cougars 6-1. With little momentum, it looked as if the Cascade was in full control of the game.
However, Stayton dug their cleats in deep, bit their mouthpieces and continued to battle with their bats and gloves.
Offensively, the speed of Alexus Hemphill around the bases and an error allowed her to score in the fifth inning.
Another error had Syndee Neuharth and Kelsie Walker screaming towards home following their singles earlier in the sixth inning. Neuharth scored but Walker barely missed the cut to end the inning as the score was now 6-4 in favor of the Cougs.
“I think it was kind of rocky at the beginning of the game and then we found our element with being on defense,” said Malya Ikea-Mario. “Then we hit tonight, so that was really great for us, especially against this team.
The defense behind Walker settled in during the fifth and sixth innings, only allowing one hit in six batters faced to keep themselves in the game.
“We just tried stopping everything we could,” said Neuharth. “(Just) keep everything in front and not let it get to us. Shake everything off.”
But, the possible dagger as Cascade scored in the Top half of the seventh to increase their lead to 7-4 as a grounder on the next pitch was met by Emily Campbell who then tossed it to Lyndsey DeSantis at first to get the out and ended the season.
Driven, Stayton came out for the final push.
Sarah VanHyugh gets a deep double then a single from Kyla Bivans. A fielder’s choice at second to get Bivans out allowed VanHyugh to score.
Emily Lindemann would pick up a single with one out and runners on the corners. With Neuharth coming to the plate, a good shot would more or less tie the game up at seven.
Unfortunately, the pitching of Cascade found a way.
Neuharth strucked out and a deep fly-out to right field ended the game.
Ikea-Mario knows that, with Philomath coming up Friday, to play a complete game and have no laspes, it comes down to what their coaches preach:
“You have to want it,” she describes the message. “This next one is going to be a strike so you have to be there and you have to be ready to hit that next ball and lay off of it if it’s not going to be there. You have to be aggressive playing defense, like knowing when’s the next play is and knowing all that.”
Head Coach Jeff Silbernagel, he knows his team is progressing as they continue to learn.
“I think we’re learning how to win each game at a time,” he said. “We’re learning each game what it takes to have that concentration. Last year we were 1-23 and we’re learning how to win this year, and I think we’re making progress. We’re getting there.”
NEXT- Friday versus Philomath at home. 4:30p
CASCADE BASEBALL 9, STAYTON 0- IN TURNER, Ryan Brown came out firing starting on the mound Wednesday, allowing one run in five innings pitched before being replace.
But, after Brown’s replacement, the Cougars found their bats. With two homeruns, Cascade turned momentum in favor of them to split the week’s series with rival Eagles after losing Monday’s game 4-0.
“They just kind of came alive last minute,” “We were kind of dead with the bats, so we need to get our bats going. We didn’t have too many errors this game but we still need to cut down on them.”
“We just need to think of it as we tied Cascade, we beat them once they beat us once. We got the best of them, they got the best of us. So we just got to move on, Philomath is a good opponent so we have to be ready.”
The Warriors of Philomath come into the two-game series with Stayton 9-7 overall and 5-3 in league following two straight losses to Yamhill-Carlton on Monday and Wednesday.