By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– Down to their final three outs of the regular season and down 5-4 in their 7-5 victory over rival-Cascade, Stayton had to rely on their aggressive offensive style in order to comeback against the 13th-ranked Cougars Thursday afternoon.
Sitting at 254 runs scored, fourth-highest in 4A behind Henley, Marist Catholic and Gladstone the tenth-ranked Eagles saw Jade Beaumont sent a blooper into the shallow part of left field to lead-off with a single.
“We’ve been really good on the base paths this year, we’ve scored a lot of runs and our bat have been going really good,” said Beaumont, who went 2-for-4 in the game. “So with one batter on with no outs kind of said that, ‘hey we can do this. We can pull through and we got this win’.”
Cascade’s Marty Jeppsen called time as he visited his defense, the Cougars are on the cusp of their first play-in playoff game since 2015 when they reached the first round of the 4A Playoffs. Stayton, it’s been since 2014 since they’ve made it to the ‘third season’ when they reached the Sweet 16 as well.
The Cougars were playing their fourth playoff-caliber team, all from the Oregon West Conference, Thursday in Stayton and had already defeated Sweet Home, Philomath and Newport leading into their Senior Night game to close out the regular season.
“It was crazy. A couple of week’s ago Marty put up on the board how close we were. What we had to do to get to where we want to be and I think it just put in perspective for everyone that we can do this,” said the Cougars Maddie Walliman. “So we kept battling in all of those games and coming out with some wins, putting us in a better spot for playoffs.”
Walliman went 2-for-3 for Cascade against Stayton. The half-inning before saw Bailey Dysinger (double) and Abby Jeppsen (single) drive in two-runs each to turn a 4-1 Eagles lead into a 5-4 Cascade lead entering the timeout.
But during the timeout, a strategy brought up by Beaumont for Alysha Sims to bunt and use their speed. The result, Beaumont going to third from second and Sims standing at first with no outs.
“Alysha is a really good bunter and it was either a footrace with me and the shortstop, I was going to get third no matter what,” starts Beaumont on the play. “She was going to turnaround like she did and make the error or she was going to get the out at one. But we would have a base-runner with one so that was the strategy to think. We need the runs right now, we need to tie this game.”
Sydney Maruer brought Beaumont home on the next at-bat with Sims advancing to third. Sarah VanHyning brought her home for the lead and Kelsie Walker scored Maurer to give Stayton a 7-5 cushion entering the bottom half of the inning.
The Eagles defense allowed Camryn Boyles to reach base off an error in otherwise a strong inning by the Stayton defense.
Sitting currently in 15th after the regular season finale, there’s a chance that when the play-in match-ups are released Tuesday that the Cougars will have a home game to get into the Field of 16 while Stayton awaits to see if their ranking gets them into the bracket or play in a Play-In game.
“We’ve been working a lot in practice on cleaning up the little things. Just after we realized that we were still in it, it was a lot easier for us to stay up in the games and battle because we realize we can do this,” “Now is the time we need it and we haven’t been to the playoffs in forever so everyone is really pumped.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald