Cowgirls come back to defeat Summit, eye playoff berth

Crook County scores two runs with two outs in the bottom of seenth inning for the comeback win

by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Sydney Waites avoids a tag attempt and scores the winning run from second base on a single by Santana Reece in the bottom of the seventh inning.  Crook County came from behind to defeat the Storm in an important game that moved the Cowgirls into a tie for second place in the Intermountain Conference with Pendleton.

The Crook County High School softball team took a giant step toward securing a state playoff spot when they came from behind to defeat the Summit Storm 6-5 on Tuesday night.
   "You know it was a well played game," said Head Coach Tom Decker. "Summit was fired up and they scored first but our kids stuck with it and just kept pecking away."
   The Cowgirls scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally and pull out the win. With four games left the Cowgirls are now 7-3 in the Intermountain Conference, 17-5 overall and tied for second place in the league standings with Pendleton.
   Summit jumped out on top and was leading 3-1 at the end of three innings, and was still leading 5-2 going into the bottom of the sixth inning. The Cowgirls scored twice in the sixth to get the score to 5-4 setting up the decisive seventh inning.
   The Cowgirls held the Storm scoreless in the top of the seventh then Paige Buswell led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a bunt base hit. With Sydney Waite at the plate Buswell stole second base, a play that turned out to be critical to the game. Three pitches later Waite struck out on a high fastball that Summit's catcher couldn't hold on to and Waite hustled down to first base beating the throw.
   The Cowgirls next two batters made outs so the Cowgirls were down to their last out with Santana Reece coming to the plate. Reece drove a hard single up the middle, scoring Buswell easily and a hustling Waite avoided a tag at home for the winning run.
   "It was a critical game for us," said Decker. "We are heading into a doubleheader with The Dalles/Wahtonka, the number one team in our league at their place so this win was critical. Any time you travel that far and play a quality team like that you have to bring your `A game' so this game was really important to us leading into the weekend. The kids really stepped up. I thought they bent a little bit, but they certainly didn't break and they came back with solid hits when we needed them."
   Bre Crakes pitched the complete game win for the Cowgirls, giving up six hits and the five runs, while the Cowgirls had 10 hits including five doubles on the night.
   "We were hitting the ball hard into that wind that was blowing right at us but we just couldn't get anything going most of the night," Decker said. "I'm really proud of our kids. They stepped up when it really mattered."
   Once again Waite led the team in batting going two-for-three with a pair of doubles. Crakes was 1-2 with a double, as was Sami Verity. Emily Gannon also had a double going 1-3 on the night and Reece went 2-4 including the game winning single.
   Friday's doubleheader at The Dalles/Wahtonka will likely decide the league title. The Eagle/Indians are 10-1 in league with two games against the Cowgirls and one against Pendleton remaining. With Crook County and Pendleton each having three losses, the Cowgirls need to win both games to have a chance at the league title.
   Crook County will finish out their regular season with two home games next week. They face Mountain View on Monday and Bend on Thursday with both games scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.
   "I'm prejudiced about the Cowgirls," Decker said. "I like our chances. Our kids will play with anyone."