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Madras softball splits doubleheader

After suffering a first loss, the Madras softball team bounced back to gain a split of a doubleheader at Henley in a Friday nonleague action.
   The doubleheader was a day earlier than the original schedule due a conflict for the host team. The split gives the White Buffalos a 2-1 record going into four games at the Sisters Tournament.
   Madras plays both Friday and Saturday against four different teams. Friday's schedule has the Buffs playing Cascade at 10 a.m. and then Central at 2 p.m. On Saturday, Madras faces Sandy at noon and Astoria at 2 p.m.
   Those are the final nonleague games. The Buffs open Intermountain Conference play by hosting Bend at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Madras has a 14-game IMC schedule.
   Henley 5-5, Madras 3-7: The hitting exploits of Autumn Wedan did the Buffs in during the first game, but not the second. Wedan drilled two home runs and drove in five runs in the first game.
   "She's a hitter," said Madras coach Shawna McConnell of Wedan. "After her first two at bats, we decided we weren't going to pitch to her if anyone was on base."
   By then, Wedan had a two-run homer in the first and a three-run shot in the third.
   The Buffs attempted to battle back, despite having just one hit. Madras owned a brief lead when Holly Martin walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
   In the fifth, JoElla Smith reached base on an error and eventually stole home. Hansina Martin later scored that same inning on a passed ball.
   The Buffs had the big first and third innings in the second game. Sarah Leutwiler drilled a two-run double in the first inning.
   Marisa Hulsey led off the third with a single. Kara Katchia followed with a home run, clearing the fence in left center by 40 feet.
   "Kara is hitting the ball really well," McConnell said. "She's worked on her swing a lot."
   Madras' rally continued with a single by Leutwiler who advanced around to third on Rachel Aimone's sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch. Smith was then hit by a pitch, setting up a double steal with Leutwiler scoring. Smith later scored on a fielder's choice. She received the coach's praise for her solid play on the bases and at third.
   "We've been aggressive on the bases and it's paying off," McConnell said. "Plus, it's fun for the players."
   Aimone earned the win, keyed by a trio of scoreless innings to open the game. Aimone struck out six while allowing three walks and eight hits.
   "Rachel threw hard and she let the defense help her," McConnell said.
   That solid defense included two backhanded stops and throws by Leutwiler at shortstop plus a diving catch by Martin in right centerfield.