By Jeremy McDonald
AMITY, Ore.– Dayton has had Amity’s number going back the past few years. Some games were uglier than others, but the Warriors finally got over the hump and defeated their rivals’ thanks in part to Amity’s Gabby Rolston’s sacrifice ground-ball in walk-off fashion in the 7-6 game.
The win muck-ups the top half of the PacWest Conference even further with both the Pirates, the Warriors and Yamhill-Carlton. All who are within a game, game-and-a-half of each other coming down the stretch.
But nonetheless, the victory was nice with both teams playing again Friday in a doubleheader.
“It’s nice because they’ve always whooped us. Every year since freshman year they’ve whooped us so it was nice to barely beat them, but we still beat them,” laughed Rolston.
The Warriors built a 6-2 lead on Dayton entering the fifth inning. Taking advantage of the fresh face in the circle in Brin Shilhanek-Opp, the freshman taking over for Senior Maddie Fluke who twerk her hand funny in the top half of the first inning batting.
Amity’s Kylie Kendall led the offense with 4RBI’s even as Shilhanek-Opp had glimpses of strong play throughout the game.
“It was one of our more important games of the season, so this was a great win for us. Their pitcher got hurt in the beginning so that set them back a little bit. Once they brought in their new pitcher, we stayed mellow enough to keep our heads in the game and do well,” Kendall said.
“I was really, really nervous,” adds Shilhanek-Opp, who struck out five. “But I was going to try my best and I did. I can definitely work on my speed because it’s nowhere near Maddie and nowhere near (Rolston), so that’s something I need to work on in the future and some spots and stuff like where Jodi (DeSmet) wants the ball.”
DeSmet had a two-run, two-out home run in the top half of the seventh inning to cap a four-run rally that had pulled the Pirates even at six. Jaeden Oliveria drove two runs in during the sixth to help bridge the gap in the contest.
“I’m really proud of our team today, we really preserve today. Brin stepped in and did amazing, she did awesome,” DeSmet said. “A lot of players moved around and I’m really proud of how we preserved and battled back. Even though we didn’t come out with the win, I’m still proud of where we are and we’ll come back and get them Friday.”
Megan Schraf, soon subbed out for a pinch-runner, led-off with a single. Jessie Plummer got on base following an out and a Kaitlyn Graham walk had loaded up the bases leading up to Rolston’s game-winning sac-hit. Knowing their hot start is only as strong as how they’ll finish.
“I think when the score was getting closer, just keep our bats alive and keep our heads up, keep our defense pretty tight and not let anything pass us. Keeping the talk going helped us out a lot (too),” Rolston said.
In the circle, Rolston struck out three to go with her RBI.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald