By Jeremy McDonald
DAYTON, Ore.– Jefferson had to come together as one to close out Tuesday’s 3A Special District 2 game with Dayton as the Lions saw their 9-2 lead quickly reduced to one-run going into the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Lions took full advantage of the Pirates slow start to create the lead in their 10-9 road victory. Aziza Saad drove two in off a double in the thiird, sister Amira and Peyton Scovell each also had 2RBI’s. Scovell, the younger Saad and Jayden O’Neil each had two hits each as Jefferson seemed to be running off with a sound victory.
But that was before Dayton began chipping away at the lead. Lillie Brooks hit a two-run home run in the bottom half of the third that made it 9-4, Jefferson got the run back off a bases loaded walk in the fourth. Rachel Baumholtz (RBI Single), Renika Oliveria (RBI Sac Hit), Brooks again with a RBI Single drew Dayton in closer after four with the score at 10-7.
There was no quit in Dayton as they loaded up the bases in the sixth and plated two more runs before Jefferson got out of the jam, leading by a slim 10-9 margin going into the seventh inning in what felt like more of a early-March game instead of Mid-April with the rain and the cold. Confidence was high for the Pirates though as they turned a quick top half of the seventh looking for a win needing two to do so.
“It was exciting and you want to do something for the team, to help out and help them get back to it. It was really exciting because you want something great to happen for every player,” Oliveria describes the comeback. “It was really the confidence.”
For the Lions, as they slowly saw base runners get on base after three-straight walks, they dug deep Coming together as a team as their Dayton counterparts had since the third inning and looked to close out their second league win of the year. Saad caught a fly-out at third, Nayeli Hart picked up a strikeout and a bang-bang play at home involving Brin Shilhanek and O’Neil that would’ve tied the game at ten was ruled an out for the Lions to halt the Pirates rally a run short of possible extra innings or a win.
“We really needed this win, we needed to get back on top, we stopped being in our own heads and work together,” Aziza Saad said. “It was so big just to start thriving under pressure and not crumble. In the past, we haven’t been working together when we get into situations like that and I think we figured it out.”
The Pirates and Lions play Yamhill-Carlton as their next game, Dayton will host the Tigers Thursday with Jefferson hosting them on Friday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald