By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– It was a long-time coming for the North Marion Lady Huskies. All too long.
The last time North Marion won was on May 18,2016 versus La Grande to break into the Field of 16, and nearly a year later, they finally got their next one.
The game versus Cascade Friday afternoon started as a shootout with a 4-all tie entering the fourth inning before the Huskies took a 6-4 lead and added another in the Top of the seventh as their defense behind Hannah Kinniburgh shut down the Lady Cougars offense entering the bottom of the seventh.
“It was nice, it was scary at moments too. Like I was definitely scared in the seventh inning knowing that they’re the home team and they get to bat last.,” said Kinniburgh. “They only needed three to tie it up and I was like, ‘alright, my arm’s getting tired’.
“But it was awesome, it was great.”
Kinniburgh and crew knew they still had three outs to go to seal the deal.
Bella Federico singled, but a Mayson Olson grounder had ended up in a Fielders Choice as Federico was tagged for out one.
A misread ball on Sonia Jimenez allowed Emily Dixon to get on base and Olson to go to third.
But Jimenez made up for it as Ally Umbenhower, to her, to first Double Play ended the game before Cascade could mount a comeback.
“Oh I’m very, very happy,” said Kinniburgh, who struck out three in the win. “I jumped up and down.
Head Coach Rachel Camp was just excited for her team as she knows how hard they’ve worked to this point for the win.
“I think it’s the best for the girls,” said Camp. “They’ve been working really hard, they haven’t given up and they’re staying positive. But I’m super positive in them anyway, but to have them to finally get a win to show all that work, it makes me really proud of them.”
For Cascade, the frustrations were there, but know they’re just as progressing along as North Marion are as they go through some bumps and bruises of the season.
“This was a big step for us,” said Emma Woods who was playing catcher instead of Second Base Friday. “In league, we’ve lost some games so far and I think that we communicated better and we’re more excited for this game then we have been so far. I could see the effort in all of my teammates and that’s really good to know.
“But yeah, it was frustrating being that close and fighting the whole time and then the last inning, not being able to get that score up.”
Both teams will look to carry this momentum into Saturday, the Cougars with a doubleheader versus Yamhill-Carlton and Stayton and North Marion with Philomath Saturday morning, both know they got some momentum to build from.
Woods said that they’ll have to be prepared and focused for their noon game versus the Lady Tigers and their 3pm game versus the Lady Eagles.
“I think we just have to be mentally prepared and focused, because YC and Stayton play two different games,” said Woods. “So we’re going to have to have strategies for each game and focus on the game we’re at and be able to after that first game, make that transition and mentally prepare ourselves for the next game.
“So the focus is going to have to be there, effort 100-percent.”
After losing 7-0 to the Lady Warriors, North Marion now knows after this game that they can bring the bats and get people home; and they hope to do the same Saturday morning at home at 11am.
“Bring our bats, we only had one person to hit against their pitch so and I just want us to have our bats firing like we did tonight it’s nice,” said Kinniburgh.
BASEBALL- North Marion 3, Cascade 0- The game between the Huskies and the Cougars found itself in a in-pass at 0-0 until the bottom of the fifth-inning where North Marion broke down Daniel Stevens and the Cascade defense for three-runs, two coming from Nic Iliyn off a double to be the difference maker after Stevens pitched 5-and-a-third good innings that featured four strikeouts on the day.
Trevor Ensign and Grant Henry combined for the shutout as Ensign had a game-high five strikeouts and Andy Schmitz went 4-for-4 in the win.