CENTRAL POINT — The Crater Comets had tradition on their side going into Tuesday's Class 6A softball play-in game.
Crater had advanced to the state playoffs every year since Chris Arnold became the Comets' coach in 2001, and Arnold's streak was kept alive for the 12th consecutive year with a 9-4 home victory over Gresham Tuesday.
The Comets (9-15) advance to a Class 6A first-round road contest on Monday against a team yet to be determined. Crater, the fourth-place team in the Southern Oregon Hybrid, lost in the state semifinals last year.
Gresham, which tied for fifth in the six-team Mt. Hood Conference, ended the season on a five-game losing streak.
Crater jumped on the Gophers (7-17) with three runs in the first inning.
Senior Malorie Mitchell opened the Comets' first with a single followed by a walk to Lauren Estremado. After a groundout that moved the runners up to second and third, Allie Winningham delivered a two-run single. Winningham eventually came around to score on an error.
Crater led 4-0 after three innings, then scored what proved to be the winning runs with two more in the fourth.
Mitchell again started the rally with a bloop single, Alex Craft singled and Winningham picked up the winning RBI with a single.
Mitchell, a returning all-league shortstop, continued to be a catalyst for the Comets.
"(Mitchell) has been a steady leader for us," said Arnold. "She's a contact hitter, gets on base and creates offense for us."
Winningham, another Comet senior, had two hits, drove in three and scored two runs.
"(Winningham) is a clutch hitter," said Arnold. "She comes up big when we need her to."
Comet junior Dana Lowder added two hits and one RBI.
"We want to eliminate some of our mistakes but we had some good moments today," said Arnold. "There was good energy and we played with urgency."
Gresham 000 031 0 — 4 9 2
Crater 310 203 x — 9 9 4
Rose and Carbone; A. Sheperd, Berryhill (4), A. Sheperd (5) and Doggett. W — A. Sheperd (4-7). L — Rose. 2B — G: Palmiter. 3B — C: Britton.
SOUTH MEDFORD 11, MCMINNVILLE 7 — At McMinnville, South Medford used a six-run surge in the fifth inning to take the lead in Class 6A state play-in action.
Trailing 6-3 in the top of the inning, the Panthers recorded five consecutive singles. Sara Gartlan had the go-ahead RBI and, before that, Hannah Newman, Tia Garrett, Becca Flora and Brittany Miller recorded hits.
Marissa Tarazon went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, Gartlan 2-for-3 with two runs scored, Garrett 2-for-5 with two RBIs and a run and Miller 2-for-4 for the Panthers (5-22), who snapped an 11-game losing streak.
South, which prevailed despite making 10 errors against McMinnville (8-17), will play in a first-round playoff game Monday.
South Medford 003 062 0 — 11 12 10
McMinnville 302 101 0 — 7 9 2
Newman and Garrett; Hoggard and Khatewoda. W — Newman (3-12). L — Hoggard. 2B — SM: Miller, Garrett, Williams.
NORTH MEDFORD 4, SOUTH SALEM 3, 10 inn. — Katie Williamson's bunt single drove in Joci Ellis in the bottom of the 10th inning and gave North Medford the nonleague win at North Medford High in a matchup of two of the top three teams in the Class 6A power rankings.
Ellis, who began the inning on second base, moved to third on Maddie Gates' sacrifice bunt before Maryssa Becker and Katie Ramsay were intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Williamson then broke up the 3-all tie with her effort.
Keisha Williams tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the ninth when she came home on an error by catcher Raina Reece with two outs.
With her team trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Gates connected on a one-out RBI single to center field that plated Ellis.
Becker finished 3-for-5, Gates 2-for-4 and Williamson 2-for-5 for the Black Tornado (24-1), which is first in the state power rankings.
Kelly Burdick went 3-for-4 for the Saxons (23-3), who are third in the rankings.
In the circle, the Louisville-bound Becker allowed six hits, five walks and two earned runs and struck out 13. Katie Donovan, a junior who has committed to Utah, gave up eight hits, six walks and one earned run while fanning 12.
North Medford beat South Salem 3-0 in last year's state final. The Tornado also edged the Saxons 1-0 earlier this year at the North Medford Spring Break Invitational.
South Salem 110 000 001 0 — 3 6 4
North Medford 100 000 101 1 — 4 8 1
Donovan and Reece; Becker and Williamson. W — Becker (14-1). L — Donovan.
LAKEVIEW 28, ILLINOIS VALLEY 8, 5 inn. — At Lakeview, Illinois Valley gave up 21 hits in the Southern Cascade Hybrid finale.
Joley Powell had three hits and four RBIs for Lakeview (8-16, 2-6 SCH).
Abbi Brooks tossed a two-hitter against the Cougars (0-22, 0-9).
Illinois Valley 011 06 — 8 2 5
Lakeview (14)06 8x — 28 21 1
Stewart, Calvert (4) and Mason; A. Brooks and Leal. W — A. Brooks. L — Stewart. 2B — L: Powell, A. Brooks, Leal. 3B — IV: Augustadt. HR — L: Powell, Arcularious, Leal.
GRANTS PASS 2, ALOHA 1 — At Grants Pass, Grants Pass' two first-inning runs held up in Class 6A play-in action.
In the bottom of the first, Justin Spinner led off with a single before Easton Bents hit a two-run home run.
Trailing 2-0, Aloha's Cooper Nagy scored on a passed ball after reaching on a double in the fifth.
Winning pitcher Ben Glaeser allowed five hits and no walks and struck out nine for the Cavemen (14-13).
CJ Eytel tossed a three-hitter with seven strikeouts and no walks for Aloha (6-20).
Grants Pass will play in the first round of the 6A playoffs Monday.
Aloha 000 010 0 — 1 5 0
Grants Pass 200 000 x — 2 3 0
Eytel and King; Glaeser and Leenknecht. W — Glaeser. L — Eytel. 2B — A: Nagy 2. HR — GP: Bents.
ASHLAND 6, KLAMATH UNION 0 — At Ashland, Carter Glick pitched four scoreless innings and Tommy Hulick added three solid innings of relief as Ashland capped its regular season at North Mountain Park.
Glick struck out four without a walk to improve to 2-0, and Hulick allowed just two hits the rest of the way for the Grizzlies (15-10).
Also for Ashland, Steen Fredrickson was 2-for-3 with a double and Ryan Bottimore drove in two.
Klamath Union 000 000 0 — 0 5 1
Ashland 104 100 x — 6 9 1
Depew, Tron (3), Bradford (5) and Whisler; Glick, Hulick (5) and Cammarota, Scott (5). W — Glick (2-0). L — Depew. 2B — KU: Montgomery; A: Flynn, Fredrickson.
ROGUE RIVER 6, ST. MARY'S 2 — At Rogue River, Kollen Roohr and Jared Ritchie combined for five RBIs to help Rogue River end the season on a winning note.
Roohr went 3-for-3, including a three-run homer in the fifth inning. Ritchie accounted for a two-run double in the fourth for the Chieftains (9-16, 3-9 SCH).
St. Mary's two hits came from Daniel Seus on an infield single in the fifth and Sam Hough's single in the seventh.
The Crusaders (17-9, 6-6) finished tied for second in the SCH with Lakeview.
St. Mary's 000 010 1 — 2 2 1
Rogue River 000 330 x — 6 5 1
Ross, Isola (5) and Seus; Carpenter, Roohr (7) and Roohr, Perston (7). W — Carpenter (4-7). L — Ross. 2B — RR: Ritchie. HR — RR: Roohr.
ILLINOIS VALLEY 7, LAKEVIEW 2 — At Lakeview, Illinois Valley concluded the year with its third straight Southern Cascade Hybrid victory.
Lander Nordal had two hits and two RBIs and Mason LaFlamme and Tyler Andrews added two hits apiece for the Cougars (7-18, 3-9 SCH), who scored four runs in the fifth inning. LaFlamme stole home with two outs in the seventh inning.
Illinois Valley 101 040 1 — 7 7 2
Lakeview 001 100 0 — 2 3 2
Welch and Housel; Callaghan, Hamilton (6) and Cockrell. W — Welch (5-4). L — Callaghan. 2B — IV: LaFlamme, Nordal.