Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
South Medford stayed even with powerful Roseburg early in the game during the Panthers Southern Oregon Hybrid softball opener Tuesday.
But Roseburg got its offense in gear in the middle innings and senior Makinna Akers proved too tough on the mound as the Indians came away with a 9-0 victory at South Medford High.
"The score at the end of the game doesn't show how we competed," said South Medford coach Miranda Gillaspie-Smith. "It was a tight ball game through three innings."
Akers, who is headed to play for Boston University next year, struck out 11 and walked one in fashioning a two-hit shutout.
"(Akers) had good composure and good control," said Gillaspie-Smith. "She dominated some of our hitters."
South Medford's only hits came on singles by Hannah Smith in the third inning and Tia Garrett in the fourth
South (1-1, 0-1 SOH), which was picked to finish last by the SOH coaches in the five-team league, battled Roseburg to a scoreless tie through three innings.
But the Indians combined four hits, a walk, a hit batter and an error to score five times in the fourth. Freshman Baylee Wyscaver smacked a two-run double to go with RBI singles by Jacey Conklin and Mason Seely.
The Indians (2-1, 1-0) received two hits each from Jessa Perkinson, Conklin and Wyscaver.
Sophomore pitcher Hannah Newman went the distance for South Medford. She struck out four, walked three and surrendered 11 hits.
"(Newman) threw well today, except for that one inning," said Gillaspie-Smith. "She was throwing her curveball and changeup effectively and staying outside."
Gillaspie-Smith was pleased with South's defensive performance, especially that of sophomore shortstop Rachel Moore and third baseman Sara Gartlan.
"We're replacing the entire starting lineup except one kid," said the Panthers' third-year coach. "We're going to have to rely on defense to make plays and be strong up the middle."
Roseburg 000 531 0 — 9 11 0
South Medford 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Akers and Conklin; Newman and Garrett. W — Akers. L — Newman (1-1). 2B — R: Larkin, Hunt, Wyscaver.
Reach reporter Frank Silow at 541-776-4480, or email email@example.com