Glencoe softball loses quarterfinal nail-biter to North Medford
Two games in a row was apparently too much to ask.
After Glencoe's May 24 comeback win over Barlow in which the Tide scored two runs in the seventh inning and one in the eighth when standout third baseman Sydney Sahlfeld drew a bases loaded walk to force in the winning run, the visitors from Hillsboro got a taste of their own medicine when North Medford used an eighth inning error to beat Glencoe 4-3 in extra innings, denying the Tide a trip to the state semi-finals.
After trailing the No. 3-ranked Black Tornado 3-0 in the third inning and 3-1 in the seventh, Glencoe scored two to tie the game at the end of seven before North's Grace Johnson scored from first base when an errant throw careened off of the head of Ashley Ripplinger – who had bunted and was racing to first – and into right field.
Justice? Maybe in the minds of North Medford, but heartbreaking for a Crimson Tide team seemingly on a collision course for their second consecutive state final.
"It's tough, but it was also a great game," said Glencoe head coach Jason Eastman. "It's what you expect in the state playoffs. The girls left it all on the field."
North scored twice in the first inning when Rylan Austin's double plated Taelor Mayben, who finished with a single, double and two runs scored. Ripplinger followed that with an RBI single to score Alex Barry and the home Tornado led 2-0.
Glencoe answered with a run in the third when sophomore Jensen Becker singled and later scored on a two-base error to make the score 2-1. But North answered that with a run in the fifth, setting up the Glencoe comeback in the top half of the seventh, when the Tide's Megan Craig and Alivia Eastman would score to tie the game 3-3, setting up the Ripplinger winner.
After Glencoe pitcher Isabel Womack got a couple big strikeouts in the seventh and the Tide went quietly in their half of the eighth, North's Austin hit a single to lead off the bottom of the inning and was replaced on the base paths by Johnson. Ripplinger then bunted her way to first before the wayward throw ricocheted off her head, allowing the speedy Johnson to race around third and narrowly beat the throw and tag by Glencoe catcher Ash Bailey, ending the game, sending North Medford to the semi-finals, and ending the Crimson Tide's season.