LITTLE LEAGUE - Salem all-stars win 6-0 shutout to advance to Regionals
by: David Ball Gresham’s Lexi Baty runs to third base during a state tournament game. The Gresham squad finished second.

After one of the best runs in area history, the Gresham all-star softball team had its season ended Thursday night with their 6-0 loss to South Salem in the tournament championship.

South Salem got off to a quick start with two runs in the first inning.

It appeared as if Gresham was going to respond in the bottom half of the inning as Morgan Bratcher stepped to the plate with her sister Meagan Bratcher standing on second with two outs. Unfortunately Morgan's hard-hit line drive found its way directly into the glove of Salem's pitcher to end the threat.

Poised to add to their lead, South Salem put runners at second and third with two outs in the third, but Gresham escaped unharmed when Meagan Bratcher caught a pitch and attempted to pick off the lead runner at third base. But she bolted for home only to have Avery Sundberg fired a perfect throw back to the plate where Bratcher applied the tag.

Unfortunately for Gresham, their bats just never came around as South Salem's Carlissa White held them to just four hits.

'We just couldn't get the ball through the hole,' Gresham head coach Traci Bratcher said, 'but at least we can say we went down swinging.'

• Gresham advanced to the finals after beating Milton Freewater 4-3 on Wednesday night.

The season as a whole was a resounding success for Gresham though, as they advanced further than any Gresham team had in almost three decades, finishing the year with a 37-4 record.

Look for extended coverage in the July 16 edition of The Outlook.

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