South Salem Shuts Door On Westview’s Late Rally For 6-5 Win

By Jeremy McDonald

SALEM, Ore.–  It’s been a while, since their season-opening game against Sherwood on March 15, that they’ve gone a full seven innings.  it’s been since that game too in which they were pushed to the brink.  And on Wednesday evening, the South Salem softball team closed the door on a quality win and their third on the young season when they defeated Westview 6-5.

They relied on their defense.  Freshman Ashley Orr and senior Payton Bradley made plays in the infield and outfield.  Rowan Thompson did Rowan Thompson things with another double-digit strikeout game, ten in total in this one, with Mackenzie Scott settling the squad down when they needed to.  Especially there in the seventh inning in which the Wildcats put the Saxons to the test for the win.  Turning a 6-2 Saxon lead into a 6-5 ball game with the tying run at second and go-ahead at first with momentum in favor of the road team.

But though the tide was against them, South Salem didn’t fade and throw in the towel.  They rose up to the occasion like the had all game long and found a way to close out their third-straight victory going into the North Medford Spring Break Invitational on Monday.

“Just knowing that we had each other’s backs.  Knowing that Rowan pushed through that, she’s freaking amazing.  And knowing that our infield and outfield backed her up,” starts Orr.  “We all worked as one and we wanted the same goal and we all got it.  We all wanted it, we all really wanted it and it happened.  (That seventh inning) was amazing, we were one.  Even if we had those struggle innings, we’re going to come back and we’re going to end up on top.”

Orr had one of the two hits that the Saxons had, driving in the go-ahead run in the bottom half of the second inning to give South Salem a then 2-1 lead on Westview.  Hannah Tapusoa added to the lead with a ground-out RBI hit in the third.  Bridgette Boiling got the Wildcats back to within one with an RBI single in the fourth before Thompson hit a three-run shot the next half inning that gave the Saxons that 6-2 lead.

Momentum seemed to be in South Salem’s favor going into that last half-inning of the game.

“It helps bring momentum.  Each play really counts and when you can string them together, it goes by faster and a lot more fun,” described Bradley.  “A game like this will boost all of our confidence and it’ll bring us the confidence to bring that energy and bring it down (to Medford).”

The seventh inning started with back-to-back singles before back-to-back fly-outs put two outs on the board, yet a run came in off a Kaiya Suyama fly-out.  Orr made the first out while Kaitylyn Green made the other.  But that last out would prove to be the hardest as a walk and an error allowed the bases to load and Sofia Cherry singled to score two that brought the game to 6-5.  With the pressure on, Thompson made the last out, a strikeout for her tenth that sealed the victory as the squad heads to Medford to play Aloha and Grants Pass on Monday at 4pm and 6pm.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald


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