By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– The North Marion softball team found a way in getting it done to improve to 2-0 in the year.
It was a unique way to finish, with Ava Shaffer scoring from second off an error to seal the 7-6 won over Elmira.
A game-winning opportunity that was set-up with an error during Shaffer’s at-bat to get to first and was advanced to second off a Emily Vatcher single in the next at-bat had eventually set-up the game-winner a few pitches later. Capping a win, and a week, that challenged the Huskies mentally as the Falcons rallied from 5-1 down to tie take a 6-5 lead going into the bottom half of the sixth inning.
“I think we went into it a little shaky and it shows that little things can change the game. The double-play that we had was really turning point,” said Anna Fuentes. “Staying strong and just the little things.”
The double play, done by Shaffer and Vatcher off a Morgan Hansen bunt, in the sixth inning gave the Huskies confidence going into their half of the sixth. Tying the game as Fuentes and the Huskies defense hung another zero on the board to set up a possible game-winning opportunity.
After taking some time away from the sport, playing as a freshman before returning to softball as a senior, Fuentes picked up strikeouts ten and eleven and forcing a pop-out to ensure that the game remained even for her offense Friday night.
“Honestly it feels amazing. I honestly can’t remember how much love I’ve had for this game, so it feels awesome to do that again,” Fuentes said of the return.
Fuentes had 14 strikeouts in the season opening win against Woodburn, a 14-2 win with the Huskies chipping their way to the victory.
A pick-off move at second to keep Shaffer honestly dribbled to shallow center field as Shaffer read-and-react to the slow reaction of the Elmira/Mapleton defense. Realizing the confusion in the defense remained as Shaffer approached third, Head Coach Russell Bowling waved the sophomore home. Taking his chances of the throw in from the outfield with his first baseman.
Shaffer slide into home as the throw came in, beating it for the game-winning run that put the Huskies for their first 2-0 start in a few years.
“Today was a gut-check win where you really had to reach down internally and bring intestinal fortitude and drive through,” Bowling said. “That’s what does it and it builds character in teams. The fans enjoyed it and it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing for the program.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald