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Late rally upends Comets

From staff reports

The Grants Pass High softball team is among the youngest in the Southern Oregon Conference, but the Cavers are a cool, calm and collected bunch.

They showed their poise Tuesday at Fagone Field when they twice overcame deficits to post a 4-3 win over Crater in a state playoff seeding game.

The day began with Crater, Grants Pass, North Medford and South Medford vying for three playoff spots following a four-way tie for second place in the Southern Oregon Conference.

Crater defeated North Medford 7-5 and Grants Pass downed South Medford 3-2 in eight innings earlier Tuesday, setting up the Crater-GP matchup to determine the No. 2 and No. — state playoff seeds from the SOC.

Crater (17-10 overall) will travel to Tualatin, the No. 2 team from the Pac-9 Conference, on Monday for a first-round game. Grants Pass (20-6) will host the No. — team from the PIL on Monday.

— Grants Pass plays on an even keel ' they're not an overly emotional team and I think that helped them today, Crater coach Chris Arnold said.

Crater held a 2-1 lead heading into the seventh inning, but Lindy Sippola pounded a run-scoring double to left-center field that tied the game and sent it to extra innings. The Comets caught a break as Sippola's hit rolled through a hole in the fence. Otherwise, another run would have scored and the game would have ended at that point.

The Comets still had some work to do, however, as GP had runners on second and third with one out. Karleigh Prestianni hit a shallow single to left field that could have ended it, but Crater's Emily Morrill made a perfect throw to the plate that nailed Allie Farmer for the second out.

There was a big collision at the plate but we got the out, Arnold said. Emily made a great throw.

Chelsea Chamberlain walked to load the bases, but Crater pitcher Brittany Reeves struck out Iris Woodhead for the third out.

Thus, the game moved into the eighth inning tied at 2-all. Morrill hit a single and Haley Hevern doubled her home in the top of the eighth to give the Comets a 3-2 lead, but the resilient Cavers again came back.

This time, Farmer was the hero as she pounded a one-out, two-run single to left that won the game. Cami Bennett slapped through a single, Emily Woolf reached base on an error and Denise Reynolds was hit by a pitch to load the bases prior to Farmer's game-winning hit.

Farmer, Prestianni, Bennett and Woolf all had two hits for Grants Pass.

Crater......................................000 002 01 ' — 4 4

Grants Pass............................100 000 12 ' 4 9 1

Cuddie, Reeves (6), Reed (8) and Winningham; Prestianni, Chamberlain (7) and Woolf. W ' Chamberlain. L ' Reed (2-1). 2B ' C: Hevern; GP: Sippola.

GRANTS PASS 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 2, 8 innings '

Lindy Sippola singled home Kim Gonzales with the game-winning run in the eighth inning of an SOC playoff game at Fagone Field.

Simone Hubbard and Jill Jeter each had RBI singles in the first inning to give South Medford a 2-0 lead.

Grants Pass answered behind RBI hits from Iris Woodhead and Cami Bennett in the home half of the first.

Sippola, Chelsea Chamberlain, Bennett and Allie Farmer had two hits apiece to lead the Cavers.

South Medford.......................200 000 00 ' 2 6 2

Grants Pass............................200 000 01 ' — 9 2

Jeter and Hubbard; Chamberlain and Woolf. W ' Chamberlain. L ' Jeter. 2B ' GP: Farmer; SM: Hubbard.

CRATER 7, NORTH MEDFORD 5 ' Kirstin Davidson went 3-for-4 as Crater held off North Medford in an SOC playoff game at Fagone Field.

The Comets, buoyed by a three-run fourth inning, made a winner out of starting pitcher Ashleigh Cuddie.

Susan Winningham and Haley Hevern each had two hits for Crater.

Crater........................................101 310 — ' 7 9 5

North Medford.........................102 011 0 ' 5 8 3

Cuddie and Winningham; Sanders and Sevano. W ' Cuddie. L ' Sanders. 2B ' NM: Sevano.

Crater?s Ashleigh Cuddie unwinds for a pitch during Tuesday?s state-seeding contest against Grants Pass. Mail Tribune / Roy Musitelli - Mail Tribune Roy Musitelli