Thats how close Glencoe came to a state title on Saturday in a 2-1 loss to North Medford in the Class 6A championship game in Corvallis.
Playing at the OSU Softball Complex, the Crimson Tide broke a scoreless tie in the top of the seventh with a groundout RBI by Courtney Clayton that scored Macy Besuyen from third base. But then they allowed a run in the bottom half to send the game into extra innings and watched the Black Tornados Grace Jovanovic send an RBI single to left field for the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth.
Youre always disappointed when you go out on a no-hitter, so that was a bummer, Glencoe coach Jacy Jukkala said after the postgame awards presentation. I was really proud of the season they had and how much the defense kept them in it. They did a good job.
The runner-up finish was programs fourth in seven seasons. Glencoe (28-2) took second in Class 5A from 2007 through 2009 before breaking through for its only state championship in 2010. Since moving up to Class 6A after that season, the Tide have won three Pacific Conference titles and advanced to the state quarterfinals in 2011 and 2012. On the opposing side, the championship was the second in a row for North Medford (29-2) and the sixth since 1997.
Katie Sutherland-Finch took the loss in the pitchers circle, bringing to an end a storied high school career. The Cal-bound Sutherland-Finch yield six hits on Saturday, walked two and struck out 10 in seven innings of work. Her counterpart on the mound, Maryssa Becker, the reigning state pitcher of the year, stymied Glencoes potent offense by throwing a no-hitter. She also gave up no walks, struck out 13 and hit one batter.
Hitting that one batter might not seem significant, but it set off all of late-innings fireworks in the game. Becker hit the leadoff batter in the seventh, and that batter was Besuyen, who was the first Tide player to reach base all game. Morgan Brown laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Besuyen to second, and then the petite second baseman reached third on a passed ball. When Clayton hit a groundout to first base, Besuyen ran home, sliding safely under the tag of North Medford catcher Katie Williamson.
But the lead did not hold. After Katie Ramsey singled to start the bottom half of the inning, Williamson sacrificed her to second base. And then the next batter, Alexis Barkwell sent a shot to left-center that smacked off the outfield wall for a double to tie up the score. Glencoe recorded two more outs to get out of the inning, but Becker retired Kylie Surratt, Maria Dendinger and Lauren Messmer in order to set the stage for Jovanovics game winning heroics.
I knew it was going to be a tough game, Sutherland-Finch said. I expected this, this kind of fight – not the loss, the fight. Im so proud of the season and how weve changed tradition at Glencoe. I was just proud we got here, and I wanted to win, of course, but for me it was more about the moral battle and the moral win than the physical one on the field.
I felt like our team played very well. We didnt hit as well as we normally do, but our girls gave their entire effort.
Check Fridays Hillsboro Tribune for more coverage of Glencoes Class 6A championship game experience.