Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
EUGENE — The Crater softball team's season debut didn't go as planned against former conference foe Sheldon in a pair of extra-inning slugfests on Friday.
And even worse, the Comets may have lost one of their up-and-coming talents to a knee injury.
The Irish twice came up with two-out, game-winning hits to top the Comets 15-14 and 6-5 in a doubleheader at Sheldon High.
As the Irish relayed a throw from left-centerfield to home plate, Athena Espinosa tried to put on the breaks as she rounded third base. As she turned back to the base, she twisted her knee and fell to the ground.
"It's gonna be a tough one," said Crater coach Chris Arnold on Espinosa's injury. "Hopefully it's not extensive or as severe as it could be. But she was in a great deal of pain.
"Athena has really come on last year and over the summer has developed into an offensive threat and developed defensively as well. She's got deceptive speed and she's got great hand-eye coordination."
Espinosa went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and also helped out the Comets' two-run rally in the top of the seventh with an RBI single. Katie Britton's fielder's choice scored Lauren Estremado to knot the score at 11-all, which forced extra innings.
The Comets (0-2) were held scoreless in the top of the ninth and the Irish won it in the bottom of the frame with a two-out RBI single.
Britton went 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Mitchell drove in three runs as well, including a two-run double in the fifth that gave the Comets a 4-1 lead.
The Irish, however, answered with 10 runs in the bottom of the fifth to grab an 11-6 advantage.
In the nightcap, the Irish used a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the eight to get the victory.
The Comets trailed by two runs until Britton's leadoff solo home run in the top of the fifth helped Crater answer Sheldon's early offense. After the homer, the Comets generated three straight hits, finished off by Estremado's RBI single that plated Alex Craft to knot it up, 4-all.
Bri Doggett added a run-scoring single to give the Comets a brief 5-4 lead.
Britton went 3-for-4, added a double and drove in three runs. Both Mitchell and Allie Winningham went 2-for-4.
"It's a reminder of the type of focus we need to have for seven, eight or even nine innings," said Arnold. "That lack of focus hurt us. I have no doubt we'll get better but we made a few too many mistakes to overcome some of the things that we did."
Crater 200 045 210 — 14 9 4
Sheldon 000 1(10)0 211 — 15 16 2
Sheperd, Fisher (5) and Britton; no names reported for Sheldon. L — Fisher (0-1). 2B — C: Mitchell, Britton.
Crater 200 020 01 — 5 12 6
Sheldon 021 100 02 — 6 5 1
Ryerson, Hassel (5) and Doggett; no names reported for Sheldon. L — Hassel (0-1). 2B — C: Mitchell 2, Britton. HR — C: Britton.
SUTHERLIN 4, EAGLE POINT 3 — At Sutherlin, Jennifer Hults hit a game-winning two-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally Sutherlin past Eagle Point in nonconference action.
With runners on second and third in the seventh, Hults snuck her two-run hit over the head of the Eagle Point second baseman to seal the victory.
The Eagles (2-1) scored their runs on a fielder's choice groundout by Brianna Shopp and a bases-loaded walk by Paige Leeper in the first inning. Mckinzee Merrill's double drove in Shopp in the fifth.
Teanna Gonsalves took the loss, allowing three hits and five walks and striking out five against the Bulldogs (1-1).
Eagle Point 200 010 0 — 3 3 3
Sutherlin 000 110 2 — 4 6 3
Merrill, Gonsalves (6) and Shopp; Malinest and Kress. W — Malinest. L — Gonsalves (0-1). 2B — EP: Merrill, Shopp; S: Hults.
EAGLE POINT 8, SUTHERLIN 1 — At Eagle Point, Brandon Wilson pitched four innings to get the win and collected an RBI single in Eagle Point's four-run fourth inning.
Wilson (2-0), the first of three Eagle pitchers, allowed three hits, struck out five and surrendered one earned run. Nate Brammer tossed two shutout innings to complete the game and registered two strikeouts.
Lucas Morris also had an RBI hit for Eagle Point (3-0) in the fourth. Zach Meerten added an RBI single in the fifth and Justin Hughes drove in two with an infield single in the sixth.
Sutherlin 000 110 0 — 2 6 3
Eagle Point 000 422 x — 8 6 1
McNight, Avere (4) and Hoobler; Wilson, Sattler (5), Brammer (6) and Hangaard. W — Wilson (2-0). L — Avere. 2B — S: McNight 2.
GRANTS PASS 7, GRANT 4 — At Portland, Chace VanEss hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning and finished 3-for-5 with three runs for Grants Pass in nonleague play.
Justin Spinner and Easton Bents were each 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Cavers (1-1), who led 7-2 before Grant (1-1) posted two runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Grants Pass 220 120 0 — 7 9 2
Grant 002 020 0 — 4 7 2
Glaeser, D'Amico (5) and Leenknecht; Orians, Johnson (1), Kokes (4) and Kokes, Johnson (4). W — Glaeser (1-0). L — Orians. 2B — GP: Leenknecht; G: Diggs. HR — GP: VanEss (1).
HIDDEN VALLEY 1-7, BROOKINGS 0-6 — At Merlin, Tyler Gulbransen did it all for Hidden Valley in the opener of its nonconference doubleheader.
Gulbransen threw a no-hitter and delivered the go-ahead single to left field in the sixth inning. Gulbransen walked just two and fired 12 strikeouts.
Joe Wardle went 2-for-3 for the Knights (3-0).
In Game 2, Kody Garrison's single plated Wardle for the game-winning run after Brookings rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh to take a 6-4 lead.
Wardle drove in a run and went 2-for-4, as did Garrison.
The Bruins committed 10 errors in the contest.
Brookings 000 000 000 — 0 0 2
Hidden Valley 000 001 x — 1 3 0
W. Aldridge and Ehlers; Gulbransen and Hults. W — Gulbransen (2-0). L — W. Aldridge.
Brookings 100 100 4 — 6 6 10
Hidden Valley 200 002 3 — 7 5 2
W. Aldridge, D. Aldridge (5) and Ehlers; Campbell, Chastain (5), Garrison (7) and Hults. W — Garrison (1-0). 2B — B: Chandler.