By Jeremy McDonald
DAYTON, Ore.– Over the past three-years, both the Dayton and Scio softball teams have been two of the best softball programs in the 3A classification with the Lady Pirates arriving in the State Titles in each of the last three years and the Lady Loggers reaching the semi-final round each of the last three years.
And though both will be facing a Toledo squad who made the postseason in 2A last season, the focus was on this game.
Dayton struck first when Malina Ray drove Kalina Rojas home to put the Pirates up 1-0 before Scio scored the next four runs off a Olivia Zeiher RBI double in the top of the second. Brooke Young had a lead off solo shot to start the third inning to hand the Lady Loggers a 2-1 lead before Zeiher picked up her second RBI of the game off another double that brought Rheanna McDaniel home.
For the Lady Pirates, they were slowly chipping away at Kelsey Pollard offensively and defensively they knew they had to be aware of Oregon State University-commit Ashton Phillips.
“We were looking for Ashton obviously with us knowing how good of a hitter she is and we’ve seen all of their pitchers, they’ve have all the same pitching staff as they did last year,” described Dayton’s Emily Eillott as the Dayton held Phillips to 0-3 batting, but found themselves down 4-1 after Pollard’s RBI single in the top of the fifth.
Confidence was high for the Lady Loggers as they built the three-run lead against Dayton as Scio looked to come into Dayton once again to pull off another victory as they did last season.
“We went into it pretty confident, but I think we got a little too comfortable with our lead and it ended up working for them better,” said Zeiher who went 3-4 with two RBIs in the game for the Lady Loggers.
Slowly, the Pirates began to rally by cutting it to 4-3 after five and tying it entering the bottom of the seventh as the Scio offense as Annika Heldt and her defense slowed the Logger offense to a Young single in the Top of the sixth.
Rojas was walked and Maddie Fluke reached on base when Elliott got up to the plate and it was a 1-1 count when she made her move.
“She pitched me outside on the first strike that I had, I didn’t want that one,” starts Elliott. “So I was looking for my pitch and my pitch only and I saw it and just swung on it.”
With Rojas on second, Elliott needed a outfield shot to bring her home and she just got that on her pitch and brought Rojas home for the game-winning run for a Dayton 5-4 win to start both team’s doubleheaders.
“Heck of a win by my girls tonight and (Annika) pitched really great today and we had some great defense and some clutch hits, so it was nice,” said Elliott.
Dayton would beat the Boomers of Toledo 16-3 in the afternoon finale as Heldt led the Pirates with four RBIs and Fluke striking out four from the circle in the second game.
For Scio, they played Toledo in the middle game of the three-game festivities at Dayton High School, and though the bats were there and the defense was there as Kasidee Parazoo struck out six but it seemed as if the Loggers were struggling to find their groove as they did against Dayton to start the day.
But it does serve them as a good learning experience as they prepare for Pleasant Hill Tuesday on the road.
“I think all of our focus was on that first game, we were ready to come to play Dayton. We didn’t have any mindset on Toledo, we had no mindset on playing them it was all Dayton,” said Phillips, who went 2-3 in the game with a RBI.
“That’s the big part, we came in focused on one game instead of having two games. We came in thinking, ‘oh we’re playing Dayton, we just need to focus on Dayton. ‘ Get that win and follow through.”