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Comets end run at ASA 16U-A nationals

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Southern Oregon Comets survived their second midnight game of the tournament but the seemingly never-ending competition at the 16U-A ASA Softball National Tournament finally caught up to the local girls a few hours later on Friday morning.

The Comets scored a 7-0 triumph over the New Mexico Sol in the early hours of the day, then returned at 10:30 in the morning and suffered a 4-3 loss to the Washington Explosion to be eliminated from the 160-team event.

"Once you fall into the loser's bracket, after that first loss you're going to play a lot of games to get back and we kinda ran out of gas this morning," said Comets coach Chris Arnold, whose team went 1-1 in pool play and 3-2 in the bracket.

Against New Mexico, Renee Murphy earned the pitching victory by striking out six and walking one in a two-hit effort. Murphy also supplied a bases-clearing triple to highlight a four-run seventh inning.

Rachel Ray was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while Malorie Mitchell and Haley Fox each went 2-for-3 with one run.

Against Washington, Sarah Haga had two hits and two RBIs and the Comets also received a pair of hits from Dennae Grant, Tasha Equitz and Ray.

A third-inning throwing error opened the door for Washington to tie the game at 3-all after the Comets had opened with three runs in the first inning.

In seven tournament games, Murphy and Chloe Hanson combined to allow only four earned runs.

"Overall it was a very positive experience for all of our kids," said Arnold, noting the team received tremendous community support to make the trip. "They just had an amazing time down here."

Southern Oregon Comets 010 002 4 — 7 9 0

New Mexico Sol 000 000 0 — 0 2 1

Murphy and Haga; Garalado and Lopez. W — Murphy. L — Garalado. 3B — C: Murphy.

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Southern Oregon Comets 300 000 0 — 3 12 1

Washington Explosion 102 010 x — 4 7 0

Hanson, Murphy (4) and Haga; Jones and Drew. W — Jones. L — Murphy.

18U-A ASA WESTERN NATIONALS — At Hayward, Calif., Grace Marsh scored the winning run on a throwing error in the fifth inning as the Black Tornado defeated the California Young Guns, 4-3, in the 30-team bracket opener.

The Black Tornado followed that with a 3-1 win over the Arizona Aztecs and will play at noon today against the Boise (Idaho) Blast for a berth in the championship quarterfinals.

Marsh, of Grants Pass, was at second base in the opener but moved up on Katie Williamson's two-strike groundout to third. Marsh scored moments later when a return throw to third went awry.

The Young Guns took a 2-0 lead on a two-run homer by Kaitlyn Taylor in the first inning, but the Black Tornado stormed back with three runs in the third. Amanda Freitas' two-out double plated Williamson with the first run and GP's Rashaun Sells later added a single that scored Freitas and Sierra Berryessa.

In the second round, Sells was 2-for-3 and Hannah Leming 2-for-3 with two RBIs to lead the way. Maryssa Becker picked up her second win of the day by scattering seven hits with two strikeouts.

After consecutive one-out walks to Berryessa and Sells, Becker had an RBI single up the middle and Leming followed with a squeeze bunt single to plate Sells. The Black Tornado tacked on its third run in the third inning after Sells singled and scored one out later on a single by Leming.

California Young Guns 200 100 0 — 3 9 3

Black Tornado 003 010 x — 4 4 2

Wilbur and Murtagh; Bartley, Becker (4) and Williamson. W — Becker. L — Wilbur. 2B — CYG: Hirsch; BT: Freitas. HR — CYG: Taylor.

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Black Tornado 201 000 0 — 3 7 0

Arizona Aztecs 000 100 0 — 1 7 0

Becker and Williamson; Binnion, Freito (4) and Ballesteros. W — Becker. L — Binnion.

10U-A ASA WESTERN NATIONALS — The Junior Eagles earned a pair of victories before finally bowing out for a fifth-place finish in the 12-team tournament at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

The Eagle Point team opened with a 2-1 win over the California Impact after starting pitcher Kristen Moore posted 16 strikeouts in six innings. Megan Ayres and Danyelle Milam each drove in a run.

The Junior Eagles, who finished second at the state tournament, then secured a 13-1, four-inning victory over the Eugene Thunder. Ayres posted nine strikeouts and was 3-for-3 in the contest.

In their third game of the day, the Junior Eagles suffered a 3-2 loss to the Central Cal Dirt Dogs after leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning. Ayres was 3-for-4 with one RBI and Rylan Austin 2-for-4 with one RBI.

In other local action, the Comets of Central Point were eliminated after an 11-0 loss to the Roseville Heat and the Grants Pass Sluggers were eliminated by a 10-2 loss to Eugene.