Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
MCMINNVILLE — It should come as no surprise that South Medford's season-ending softball game was a close one.
The Panthers dropped a Class 6A play-in game to McMinnville, 2-1, Tuesday, thereby ending their season with a 6-17 record.
"That kind of summarizes our season," said South Medford coach Miranda Gillaspie-Smith.
Seven of the Panthers' final 14 games were decided by two runs or less. South dropped six of its final seven games.
"All year, we've been right there trying to push through," she said.
Helped by a walk and an error, McMinnville — which managed only four hits — scored runs in the first and second innings off starter Kylee Nunez.
But except for a solo home run over the left-field fence in the fourth inning by Katie Ramsay — who also had a double — the Panthers couldn't get a run across. They had 13 fly outs.
South's best opportunity to tie the Grizzlies came in the sixth, when Sam Owirka singled with one out and advanced to second. The hot-hitting Ramsay came up, but she was intentionally walked, and the inning ended soon after on a fly to center and a grounder to the pitcher.
Olivia Beamish-White was 2-for-4 for the Panthers, who got strong relief pitching from Kelcee Jones. Jones came in with a runner on in the fourth and got three outs. She allowed one hit and fanned one in three scoreless innings.
South Medford 000 100 0 — 1 6 2
McMinnville 110 000 x — 2 4 1
Nunez, Jones (4) and Ramsay; Chrisman and Khatewoda. W — Chrisman. L — Nunez. 2B — SM: Ramsay. HR — SM: Ramsay.
GRANTS PASS 12, HILLSBORO 0, 5 inn. — At Grants Pass, Amy Robinson pitched a two-hitter with seven strikeouts and one walk and Hillsboro committed eight errors in the Class 6A state play-in game.
Aleah Stevens recorded two hits and two runs scored and Robinson added two hits for the Cavers (13-12). Taylor Thomas and Lizzy Merritt both had two RBIs and Bailey Bradbury scored twice against Hillsboro (3-24).
Hillsboro 000 00 — 0 2 8
Grants Pass 801 3x — 12 9 0
Royster and Riddle, Goonan (5); Robinson and Stevens. W — Robinson (13-8). L — Royster. 2B — GP: Robinson. 3B — H: Demezas; GP: Merritt.
NORTH MEDFORD 5, CRATER 1 — Maryssa Becker struck out 11 and hit a double and home run as top-rated North Medford registered its 19th straight victory in the nonconference home game.
Becker, a junior pitcher, improved to 21-0 on the season with the three-hit performance.
Becker belted a two-run homer in the first after Joci Ellis singled. In the third, Ellis singled, Becker drove her home with a double and Kelsie Bartley delivered an RBI single.
North Medford (24-1), No. 1 in the OSAA 6A power rankings, will host the lowest-seeded team remaining in the first round of the state playoffs on Monday. Crater (11-15), the SOH's No. 3 seed, will also open the playoffs on Monday.
Crater 000 001 0 — 1 3 1
North Medford 202 001 x — 5 9 1
R. Murphy and Medina; Becker and Williamson. W — Becker (21-0). L — R. Murphy. 2B — NM: Becker. HR — NM: Becker.
ILLINOIS VALLEY 7, LAKEVIEW 6 — At Cave Junction, Illinois Valley picked up its second SCH victory against six losses with the home win.
The Cougars are 4-12 overall while Lakeview fell to 11-7 on the season and 4-3 in league play.
BUTTE FALLS 13, PROSPECT 0, 5 inn. — At Prospect, Mariah Moore was 4-for-4 at the plate with two doubles and six RBIs to power Butte Falls in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Moore also picked up the win in the circle for the Loggers (9-7, 8-4 Dist. 4), who host an opponent to be determined in the District 4 playoffs Thursday.
For Prospect (8-10, 4-7), pitcher Alee Pinkerton struck out nine batters but also walked eight.
Butte Falls 320 53 — 13 7 3
Prospect 000 00 — 0 2 2
Moore and Hobbs; Pinkerton and Coble. W — Moore (9-6). L — Pinkerton. 2B — BF: Moore. 3B — P: Lass.