By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– In two games this season, the Stayton softball team have outscored teams 25-4.
Of both games, they haven’t gone the full seven innings as both games ended during the bottom of the sixth inning.
Kelsie Walker has been dominated with eight strikeouts in nine innings in the circle, Sydney Maurer adds another five in three behind their strong defense.
“We’re keeping our energy up, we’re working together as a team and I think it’s a good confidence booster for the rest of the season,” said Walker on the strong start her team is on. “One of our goals is to stay together as a team and to keep the team chemistry good.
“Because if you keep the team chemistry good, then your going to succeed no matter what.”
Offensively, boy has it been on a tear to start despite the recent run of rain behind senior Emily Lindemann, and their team just got stronger as Sydnee Neuharth joins the team Wednesday after helping Stayton High bring home a State Championship with the Dance team.
Lindemann and Neuharth, two of three seniors on the team, both combined for five RBIs Wednesday with three from Lindemann and two from Neuharth as the team exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the fifth after the Indians cut a 3-0 lead to 3-2 entering the frame.
“I felt like we did really good,” said Lindemann on the team Wednesday. “We’ve really been working hard during practice of team Dynamics and softball dynamics and I felt like we did really good.”
Head Coach Jeff Silbernagel joked that he thought his team only scored four or maybe five runs that inning until he looked up and it was 11-2 entering the sixth inning; but the seasoned coach is excited about this young team this year.
Silbernagel even believes that this team has the talent to make it to the playoffs, something that the Lady Eagles haven’t done since the 2013-2014 season when they made it all the way to the Quarterfinal round before losing to Henley 2-0 as they continue moving forward with this season.
“We got bats tonight, it’s going to be fun with a few young pitchers. We’re going to have fun with it this year I think,” said Silbernagel. “It’s just fun, it’s kind of neat, we have a whole group coming next year and the year after,”
“Getting into the playoffs again, I think they all realize that we can with this talent,” Silbernagel added about the goals of this season.
That talent will be put to the test come league here in a few weeks with Philomath, Newport and the rest of the Oregon West Conference and the game Friday at Tillamook and the Mac High Tournament will play important factors in preparation for what’s to come.
Silbernagel points to the strength of teams in the Tournament at McLoughlin, (or Mac High), and the Eagles got the host team in the second game which will provide a good test to this team.
“We’re going to play some good competition, when we’re at Mac high,” said Sibernagel on facing McLoughlin. “They’re always playing in the finals or close to. So we’ll see how that goes. I’m looking forward to playing them.
As the team wraps up the field clean-up you can tell this team is going to be something special as they joke around with one another. You even saw that during the game as they cheered for one another as they now turn their focus to Tillamook Friday on the road.
“You can see that they are pretty excitable to get going.=,” said Silbernagel.
BASEBALL- Stayton found a way to get the sour taste out of their mouth of the 18-0 loss to a very good Valley Catholitc team a few days ago as they battled Molalla in their 4-3 loss Wednesday afternoon at home.
“I thought we came back a lot better than when we played on Friday,” said starting pitcher Donovan Stanley. “I thought we had more intensity and actually wanted to be on the field.”
Though all four of the Indian runs came through Stanley, the Machine that is Stanley wasn’t afraid of pounding the strike-zone as 32 of his 42 pitches were strikes as he picked up a strikeout in three innings before Riley Nichols came in for two hitless innings.
The defense was there as they limited Molalla and gave their offense opportunities. But they weren’t able to muster more than two hits in the game, something that they need to improve on points Stanley.
But the confidence is there as look to build from this Thursday when they host Tillamook at 430pm.
“Just keep working at it, improving and looking at what we did wrong and fixing it and do our jobs,” said Stanley.
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Few Softball Pictures (Pictures By Jeremy McDonald)