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Aloha's magical run comes to an end

South Salem stops Aloha 8-7 in the 13th, faces Century on Saturday
by: Tom Patterson SHE’S SAFE — Aloha’s Ryan Patterson slides in home to score and tie Tuesday’s Class 6A state semifinal against South Salem at 2-2.

SALEM - After 10 innings and almost four hours of softball Tuesday afternoon, nothing was decided.

The Class 6A state semifinal game between Aloha and South Salem was suspended due to darkness at about 8:45 p.m. after 10 innings and the teams tied at 5-5.

But there was more darkness ahead for the Warriors - when the game resumed, the Saxons escaped with an 8-7 win in the 13th inning, and in the process, earned a berth in the Class 6A state championship game. South Salem will meet Century at 10 a.m. Saturday at the OSU Softball Complex in Corvallis.

In Tuesday action, South Salem (24-5) jumped on Aloha (23-6) right away in the first inning. Kelsie Gardner laid down a perfect bunt single off Aloha's standout pitcher Serenil Sierra and moved to second on a wild pitch.

Gardner then scored on a double by Lauran Bliss, and Bliss came home on an RBI double by Lauren Donovan to lead 2-0.

But in the top of the third inning, rain hit and the game was briefly halted.

When play resumed Ryan Patterson hit an RBI single for Aloha and scored later on a South Salem error to tie the game 2-2.

Then, in the fifth inning, Aloha scored three more runs on three errors and took a commanding 5-2 lead.

'We took advantage of their errors and scored runs,' Aloha coach Steve Reynolds said. 'The momentum change was the rain, and it changed the momentum of the game. It went to our favor at the time.'

But the Warriors couldn't hold that lead, and saw their game continued to Wednesday thanks to one big swing by South Salem's Erin Norris.

Norris, a senior third baseman came up with runners on second and third and took the first pitch Sierra offered and put it over the fence in center field to tie the game with her third home run in the playoffs.

'And then one pitch that's hung, and she hits it over the fence, tie game,' Reynolds said.

After the sixth, both teams had chances to win the game, including in the international tiebreaker rule 10th inning, but neither could push a run across the plate.

Both teams continued the fight until South Salem finally got the game winner in the bottom of the 13th inning to win 8-7.

Editor's note: The complete story detailing the Wednesday continuation of the Aloha-South Salem semifinal will appear in next week's edition of the Beaverton Valley Times.