By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– In the early going, it seemed like it was if Stayton was following the rhythm that their bats made Monday versus Philomath two innings into their game versus Cascade up 3-0.
“It felt good to come out on fire and just to get ahead,” said Stayton’s Kelsie Walker, who picked up two of her five strikeouts in the first two innings. “So it felt good especially with them being our rivals.”
Walker picked up two more strikeouts in the top of the third, but the bats of Cascade that’s been quite since their shootout versus Seaside game on March 24 at Seaside, woke up in the second inning versus the Eagles.
Through thick and thin, Cascade hung together as a family, as a team as they got to within one of Stayton entering the bottom of the third and eventually found that perfect storm as they capitalized on where the Eagles weren’t and Stayton errors to build a 12-3 lead entering the bottom of the fifth.
“I think our team coming together really helps, and I think just us connecting as a team turned into more and big family,” said Cougars Bailey Dysinger. “That kind of pumped us up more than normal. I think it’s just us coming together that paid off.”
Dysinger had four RBIs on the day behind three hits and thanks to a defense that held a Eagle offense to three runs after scoring 18 the last two games, confidence was riding high that they could continue that trend moving forward.
“It was really important to not give up and turn the other leaf and just forget about it and move on with the game,” said Cascade pitcher Lexi Loukojarvi on the mindset after going down 3-0 early. “Every single person on the team has a important role and it was early in the game and we can do this, so we kept fighting and kept pushing and it turned out to a win and it felt really good.”
But, to get to that win, to took some work with the Eagles finding their groove once more with the bats as they did late versus Philomath last Wednesday in Philomath.
Emma Heuberger was walked by Loukojarvi that brought up relief pitcher Sydney Maurer, who was pitching since late in the third inning and Maurer once more showcased her power as she jacks a moonshot to left field to bring the Eagles to 12-4 early in the bottom of the fifth inning.
“I knew we needed it and it was something we really needed, and it just happened, I didn’t even try, it just what happened,” said the freshman on her first Oregon West Conference homerun. “And it helped us a lot.”
Stayton would score five of the next six runs, but didn’t have enough outs to complete the comeback as Emma Woods turned the final out to first for the 13-8 Cascade Victory.
The pain of losing this first game to their rival was on the faces of Stayton as they met as a unit following the game as they wondered what happen as they plan for practice the next day.
“We just need to put the extra work in at practice,” said Walker. “I’ve always heard since I was little, ‘Play how you practice’ and I think putting in hard work making sure everyone’s feeling their bodies and coming prepared to play. Clean warm-ups, not goofying off, doing a good focused warm-up.”
As for the Lady Cougars, the taste of victory was that of a few weeks waiting, since their season-opening 11-1 victory over Cottage Grove on March 22, and it tasted so good.
“It’s been a few games,” laughed Loukojarvi, who pitched a complete game Wednesday. “It’s a good feeling, especially a good win especially against your rivals it’s good.”
The second act of this trilogy will be on Thursday at Cascade High School with a 4:30pm first-pitch.
BASEBALL– Stayton once held a 1-0 lead as Riley Nichol blasted a double in the top of the third inning to bring home Brayden Neuharth versus Cascade Tuesday in Turner. Nichol’s hit however was the lone hit for the Eagles as Cascade’s Ty Yunker had three of the team’s four RBIs in the 4-1 victory over Stayton with Brayden Knuth having the other RBI.
Pitching wise, the sophomore ace in Donovan Stanley had six strikeouts, matching that of his senior counterpart from the Cougar dugout in Mitchell Bell with Daniel Stevens adding another five strikeouts for Cascade.
On Thursday, the Cougars will travel to Stayton to play the Eagles on the turf infield for a 4:30pm first-pitch.
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook
Photos By Jeremy McDonald