Cascade Overcomes Slow Start To Advance

By Jeremy McDonald

TURNER, Ore.–  By the final result, it would’ve been hard to imagine the fact the Cascade Softball team had any kind of nerves as they defeated Cottage Grove 14-3 in five innings Friday afternoon at Cascade High School.

Two-and-a-half innings earlier though, those nerves were running rampant.  Allowing the Lions to build a 3-0 lead going into the bottom half of the third inning as they were looking for any kind of momentum to get them to the bracket and a chance to defend their 4A State Championship.  But after a five-run inning in the bottom of the third, all of a sudden the nerves disappeared as they walked into the fourth ahead with a 5-3 lead.

Bridging that big inning into a shutout inning in the fourth, Cascade tacked on another four runs in the frame to balloon their lead to 9-3 going into the fifth.

“I was really nervous.  I didn’t want to do bad and didn’t want to let the team down and I was trying not to get into my head.  It makes me feel good and we kept hitting, so that helped a lot.  The energy kept going up,” Jari Stegman said, who came in for relief in the third inning.  “Our energy is definitely helping, keeping that up will definitely go far.

Cascade scored 14 unanswered runs after going down 3-0 to Cottage Grove in Friday’s 4A State Play-In Round (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

Stegman and Lizzie Hedges held the Cottage Grove bats to four hits in the game, both striking out three in the circle with their defense backing both underclassmen pitchers up.  Doing so once more in the top half of the fifth as their early slow start seemed to be a distant memory.

It became more of a distant memory when they point an exclamation point to the victory in the bottom half of the fifth inning.  The bats continued as Lexie Gidcumb and Maila Scanlan drove in a run each.  Amyah Miranda, who had been on a terror in the batter’s box, ended the game with a three-run home run to close out the game with the freshman going 3-for-3 with 5RBI’s in the game and sending the Cougars back to the Field of 16 once again.

“Most of it is just mentality.  We get into the dugout, in our circle and we just think strategy-wise.  There’s a lot of ball-game left, it was the third inning so we got to be determined,” Miranda said of the turnaround.  “At first we were lacking a little bit.  Then when we got into the dugout, we got our bats up and we started realizing, ‘oh we need to stay in the ball game’ and that’s how we just pulled through.  We had each other.”

Gidcumb finished the game with 3RBI’s and Cassidy Crabtree, Kailee Bode and Scanlan all collected two hits apiece as the Cougars await for their next opponent to open the 4A Field of 16.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald


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