WEST LINN - The Tigard High School softball team started off strong.
And the Tigers battled to the end. But they came up just short of getting a playoff victory.
Tigard saw its season come to a close with a 6-5, eight-inning loss to Centennial in a Class 6A state playoff first-round game played Tuesday at Rosemont Ridge Middle School.
Centennial, the No. 2 team out of the Mt. Hood Conference, improved to 16-11 on the season with the victory. The Eagles also advanced to meet Glencoe in a state playoff second-round game on Wednesday.
Tigard, which tied for second place in the Pacific Conference standings, finished its season with a final overall record of 18-7.
Tigard, in Tuesday's playoff game, jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, thanks to a second-inning, three-run home run by sophomore Michelle Simmons.
But Centennial began chipping away at the lead.
The Eagles trailed 5-3 going into the sixth inning, but an RBI double by Salina Casteneda cut the Tigard lead to 5-4. Centennial then got the tying run on a close play at the plate in the top of the seventh inning.
Tigard threatened to end the game in the bottom of the seventh after freshman Katie Chabreck's sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third base with two outs in the frame. But Centennial's Shelby Lundquist-Adams caught a foul pop-up near first base to end the threat.
Centennial then took its only lead of the night in the eighth inning when Chelsey Miller doubled in Lundquist-Adams.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Tigard got singles from seniors Bailey Hare and Kristin Nunn and a walk by junior Anna Warren to load the bases.But Centennial pitcher Katie Walker coaxed a game--ending groundout.
The loss marked the final high school game for Tigard seniors Hare, Jessica Lemieux and Nunn.