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Madras softball haunted by lapses

Unearned runs cost Buffs better chance at win in Tri-Valley

Sports Editor
   
   Freshman pitcher Verna Mitchell pitched well Monday against Estacada, just not quite well enough to out-duel Estacada starter Mallory McCarty in a Tri-Valley softball contest.
   Estacada's 6-3 win in the game gave the Rangers their first league win. Madras remains in search of its first league win, despite some solid hitting and fielding Monday.
   Madras created chances to score on Estacada yet never quite all came together at once.
   After the four-run third inning, Estacada nearly cruised, yet was forced to score. Kassie Fox topped the Buffs on offense.
   Fox, a sophomore, lauched a fly over the center fielder's head that Estacada failed to track down before Fox toured the bases, despite the grass being wet.
   Estacada was supposed to host Tuesday's game but switched the games with Madras and thus will be at home May 9, when Madras High's girls will join the baseball team in taking a bus to Estacada.
   After a scoreless battle early on Monday, Estacada took its lead with a four-run third inning including a run-scoring singles by Kendra Kavaaugh.
   Later, a run-scoring single by Missy McAuley of Estacada countered a two-run fifth the Buffs used to get back into the game.
   Twice the Buffs had the tying run at the plate. They never trailed by more than three runs after third.
   Fox's home run over the Estacada center fielder's head for Madras in the fifth inning cut the difference to 5-3 but that proved as close as Madras would get.
   Rylee Sweeney and Christina Barnes both doubled and could have sandwiched a three-run inning including a run by Mitchell had not the freshman pitcher been caught trying to score on instrutions from her third-base coach.
   Helen Maldanado's sliding catch in center was among the top plays Madras made on defense to stay with Estacada.
   La Salle was matched by Madras over the final five innings of a Thursday, April 17, Tri-Valley league game, but still won 5-2. Surrendering three runs on a series of bobbles in the first inning proved its undoing for Madras.
   "The girls played well except for those mistakes in the first inning. I felt like we were evenly matched except for that," Madras head coach Dick Souers said. How much of a difference untimely mistakes can make became clear when the triple catcher Megan Smith launched over the La Salle center fielder's head in the fifth could only generate the first of two runs Madras plated in the fifth. La Salle had taken a 5-0 lead.
   Mitchell proved determined more than distraught after the first inning. She collected a few strikeouts and shut out the visiting Falcons over the final four innings.
   While Madras slipped to 0-3 in the league, La Salle improved to 3-0. Thursday's result left Madras as the only team which had lost to each of the three teams that had started the April 17 action 2-0. Earlier the Buffs were victimized at Gladstone, 2-0, and at Sherwood, 5-3.