The Nightmare earn state runner-up honors, despite a youthful lineup

by: SUBMITTED - The Oregon City Nightmare did themselves proud at the recent Oregon Amateur Softball Association 12-B State Tournament, bagging the second-place team trophy. Pictured with their trophy are Nightmare players and coaches: (front row, from left) Brooklynn Yee, Brooke Bullock, Katie Schroeder, Emily Dugan, Maddie Krekel and Maddie Miller; and (second row) head coach Jeff Schroeder, coach Bret McCullough, Brooklyn Roberts, Samantha Brewster, coach Carrie Miller, Kora McCullough, Kiley Maynard, Emily Gates, Hannah Jagow and coach Kevin Miller.HILLSBORO — Oregon City’s youthful 12-B Nightmare girls fastpitch softball team made a tremendous run at the recent Oregon Amateur Softball Association State 12-B Championship Tournament, winning six of eight games in three days and finishing second only to Tualatin in the 28-team field.

“I am so proud of these girls,” said Nightmare head coach Jeff Schroeder. “We were most likely the best first-year 12-U team in the state. We played 63 games and ended with a 39-23-1 record, collecting quite a few second- and third-place trophies along the way.”

The Nightmare’s state runner-up finish at the 12-U level was a surprise to many, because the nucleus of the team consisted of girls who had played at the 10-U level a year ago, playing for a Nightmare 10-U team that placed third in the state. The accomplishment was all the more impressive because the 12-B Nightmare had to beat several teams that they had lost to during the regular season in order to earn second place.

En route to this year’s state runner-up finish, the Nightmare defeated the Lady Celts of Keizer 6-3, the Silver Bullets of Beaverton 7-6, Oregon Thunder of Hillsboro 9-4, the Black Widows 10-6, Roseburg Indians 10-6 and Corvallis Lady Nights 8-3.

They had lost to the Lady Knights 10-7 earlier in the state tournament and had to battle back with three back-to-back wins on the final day of the tournament in order to earn a shot at Tualatin in the final.

The win over the Lady Celts in their tournament opener helped the Nightmare gain early confidence, because it was a team they had lost to 3-2 earlier in the year.

The Nightmare jumped to a 6-0 lead and cruised to the win behind the pitching of Maddie Miller (seven strikeouts). Hannah Jagow had the hot bat, hammering out two triples.

The Nightmare gained even more confidence in their second game, a 7-6 victory in a nailbiter with their rivals from Beaverton, the Silver Bullets. The Nightmare had not beaten the Silver Bullets in three other meetings this year, and the Bullets were the team that knocked the Oregon City team out of last year’s 10-U state tournament.

The contest with the Silver Bullets was a barnburner, with the Nightmare scoring what would prove the game-winner in the bottom of the fifth, and then holding off a Silver Bullet comeback attempt in the top of the final inning.

Samantha Brewster got things started in the fifth with a two-bagger, moved to third on a sacrifice by Katie Schroeder, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kora McCullough.

The Bullets answered with two runs in the final inning. But shortstop Emily Dugan closed the door on the comeback effort, making the play on a ground ball for the final out, when the Bullets had runners on second and third.

The Nightmare had a big inning in the fourth, scoring six times. Jagow and Emily Gates had big hits in the pivotal inning. Jagow, Gates, Dugan, Brewster, Schroeder and Kora McCullough scored runs.

Next came the 9-4 win over Oregon Thunder, another team the Nightmare had lost to earlier in the season. Brewster (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Dugan (3 RBI) starred at the plate, while Maddie Miller and Maddie Krekel got the job done in the pitcher’s circle.

“We beat a good pitcher [in the win over Oregon Thunder],” coach Schroeder said. “She threw hard and had good control. But we battled and got to her for six hits.”

The Nightmare dug themselves an early hole in the 10-7 loss to the Lady Knights, and were unable to make up the deficit. Miller and Dugan had two hits apiece and both scored twice.

The Nightmare rallied late to pull out their 10-6 losers’ bracket win over the Black Widows. Trailing 4-2, they scored eight runs in the fifth inning. The key hit in the big inning was a bases clearing double by Brooke Bullock. Jagow had a huge day at the plate, going 3-for-4, with a double and a triple. Brooklynn Yee pitched a complete game, scattering seven hits, while issuing just one free pass.

The Nightmare barely had a chance to take a breath before their next game, but they were ready to play. It was against one of the tournament favorites, the Roseburg Indians, a team they had lost to 12-5 earlier in the year.

It was another come-from-behind win. Trailing 6-2, the Nightmare scored seven times in the fourth frame to take control, en route to the 10-6 victory.

The Oregon City team’s bats were on fire in the Roseburg game, as they punished the ball for no fewer than 14 hits. Bullock (3-for-4) and Brewster (2-for-4, bases loaded double, 4 RBI) had the hot bats. The Nightmare was trailing 6-5 when Brewster hit her double. Krekel and Miller both took a turn in the pitcher’s circle.

Next the battle-weary Nightmare players battled from behind in their rematch with the Lady Knights, scoring seven runs in the third and fourth innings to take control. Yee pitched her second complete game of the day, striking out three and walking one. Gates and Jagow had two hits apiece, Dugan scored twice and Brooklyn Roberts cracked a two-run double to head up the offense.

The Nightmare then met the Tualatin Terror. But it was their fourth back-to-back game of the day, and they ran out of gas, losing 11-3.

“They were a very good second-year 12-U softball team,” said Schroeder. “We battled hard.... We were only down 5-3 after the top of the third, but couldn’t hold on. We had too many errors and not enough hits.”

The Nightmare roster included eight players from Oregon City: Kora McCullough, Brooklyn Roberts, Brooklynn Yee, Brooke Bullock, Katie Schroeder, Maddie Miller, Emily Gates and Emily Dugan.

Kiley Maynard (Gresham), Hannah Jagow (Tigard), Samantha Brewster (Brightwood) and Maddie Krekel (Happy Valley) rounded out the roster.

Dugan was the top hitter on the season, with a .421 batting average. Jagow, Gates, Miller and Brewster all hit better than .300. Dugan had a team-leading 69 hits; Jagow had a team-leading 55 RBI.

Miller, Yee and Krekel shared pitching duties. Miller had 104 strikeouts; Yee had a 2.69 ERA.

Bullock caught nearly every inning of every ball game.

Nightmare coaches were: Schroeder, Bret McCullough, Carrie Miller and Kevin Miller.

This was the sixth year playing together for many of the girls on the team.

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