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How I See It, By Joe McHaney

Buffalo softball excited faithful
Alex Holcomb doesn't believe me, but I have a witness.
   The Madras High School senior had me jumping around in my living room like a 4-year-old kid after she crushed a game-winning home run in the opening round of the Class 4A state championship softball tournament May 25.
   I visited with Holcomb on the phone after her heroic blast last week and told her she had me pretty darned excited, but she didn't believe me. The senior not only lifted the White Buffalos into the state softball quarterfinals for the third time in school history, but also lifted the local sports editor off the ground.
   My guess is that I was not the only White Buffalo follower that jumped in the air after either watching or listening to her hit that home run that MHS head coach Shawna McConnell said Holcomb tattooed.
   It was exciting to have a local team win in dramatic style on the road in the Class 4A playoffs. It was a fitting end to a contest that was an absolute classic. Many of those who witnessed the game told me it was one of the best softball games they had ever witnessed. From the sounds of it, they were not embellishing that point of view.
   The MHS softball program has put itself on the map the past two seasons with a flare for winning in late innings with massive home runs.
   Maycee Abendschein crushed a game-winning, walk-off home run in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs last year at home. Her round tripper was also very exciting and had MHS softball followers very keyed up.
   Unfortunately, the White Buffalos went on last week to lose at Central 1-0 in the quarterfinals. Madras played for the second time in three days on the road. Thanks, OSAA, thanks for putting the Buffs on the road twice in a flawed ranking system.
   Oh well, no excuses and hats off to Central for defeating a fantastic Madras team that has MHS pumped up about softball.
   The program has followed in the footsteps of the MHS baseball program in creating a fun, electric environment for players and patrons. The two programs are hoisting high school kids into the spotlight and giving fans cheap entertainment during wonderful spring weather that we have had.
   This group of softball players will be long remembered for blasting home runs, scoring tons of runs and winning a conference title for just the second time in school history.
   Graduation will take its toll on the program. Seniors such as Abendschein, who was named the Tri-Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year, and JoElla Smith, who was named the TVC Player of the Year, will have to be replaced.
   For now, the program can celebrate a season that was filled with great memories. Hopefully, this group will remember the moments that captivated its faithful and not the 1-0 loss that eliminated them from the playoffs.
   It's not very often after eight years as a high school sports reporter that I get swept up in the action, but Holcomb and the Buffs did just that last week with another thrilling finish.