Two-out rally lifts Buffs into quarterfinals
For the second consecutive season, the Madras High School softball team bowed out of the OSAA Class 4A state championship bracket in the quarterfinals.
The White Buffalos lost 5-0 May 25 to the hands of two-time state champion Cascade.
"It just wasn't our day," MHS head coach Shawna McConnell said of her team that played two road playoff games in three days last week. "We didn't hit the gaps and didn't play our best."
Cascade improved to 23-4 overall and played at Henley (25-3) in the semifinals after press deadline Tuesday, while Madras finished the season 19-9. The other Class 4A semifinal game featured Banks (23-4) at Mazama (18-7). The winners of the semifinal games Tuesday will play June 2 at Oregon State University for the state championship.
"Our girls were really pleased to play in the quarterfinals again," McConnell said. "We were a little disappointed, but I don't think a lot of people expected us to get this far."
Cascade took advantage of a Madras error and scored four runs in the fourth inning to make the score 5-0 to put the White Buffalos away and push its win streak to six games.
"They hit the ball hard and being down 5-0 on the road is tough to come back from," McConnell said.
Madras had four hits to Cascade's eight and fell victim to 10 strikeouts. Natalie Martin went two for three for the White Buffalos.
"Our kids accomplished every goal they wanted this year," McConnell said. "I think the girls are very proud of how far they have come, but it just wasn't their day against Cascade."
Jamie Moe, who tossed all seven innings, tallied a hit for Madras, as did Keely Brown.
"Jamie battled out there for us and they just hit the gaps," McConnell said.
Madras will lose Raylene Jones, TaSheena George, Cheyenne Parsons and Victoria Spino.
"The seniors that we will lose gave us so much besides just being softball players," McConnell said. "They're all great kids."
Madras 3, Phoenix 0
Madras used a good-old fashioned two-out rally Wednesday to advance to the OSAA Class 4A softball quarterfinals for the second consecutive season.
The White Buffalos rallied for three runs on six hits in the top of the eighth inning and rode another superb pitching effort by Jamie Moe to score a 3-0 victory at Phoenix during an opening round game.
"The girls had their rally caps on and were up cheering hard for one another," MHS head coach Shawna McConnell said. "This game was a well-played battle and our girls made the adjustments necessary to get the win."
In the eighth inning with two outs and a scoreless game, Madras had six consecutive hits highlighted by RBI singles from Sarah Brown Shelby Mauritson, and Raylene Jones.
"They threw a really good pitcher that had good speed, but our girls finally caught up to her," McConnell said of her team that struck out 11 times.
With a 3-0 lead, Moe retired the side in the bottom half of the eighth inning to cap consecutive scoreless playoff pitching victories.
"Jamie was amazing," McConnell said. "She gave a tremendous effort."
Moe fanned nine batters, allowed four hits and walked two.
"Her curve ball was working really well and she basically dominated the game," said McConnell of Moe, who has tossed 13 consecutive scoreless innings in post-season play this year.
Natalie Martin, who started a string of six straight hits in the eighth inning, finished two for three with a double and a stolen base. Brown finished two for four, and Mauritson, Jones, Cheyenne Parsons, Caitlin Hulsey and Inez Jones each went one for four.
Cascade, which won the 4A state championship the last two years year, finished second in the Oregon West Conference this season behind Central. Madras won the Tri-Valley Conference for the second consecutive season.
"This is what softball is all about, to be in this position in late May," McConnell said. "We're looking at Cascade as just another softball game. If our girls play their game, I think they can beat anyone in the state"
Madras lost 1-0 to Central in last year's quarterfinals.
"I don't think a lot of people believed that we could be in the quarterfinals, after losing all the players we did to graduation, but this group just keeps proving people wrong," McConnell said. "I'm super excited for this group of girls."