Comets clinch MWL title
CENTRAL POINT — Undefeated in the Midwestern League, the Crater softball team had a chance to wrap up the title but would need a sweep of Eagle Point on Thursday to do so.
However, Riley Shopp and the second-place Eagles didn’t make things easy for the Comets.
Shopp launched the second of her two home runs in the top of the sixth inning of Game 1 to tie the game but Crater’s Kayla Lee delivered the go-ahead single in bottom of the frame to push the Comets past the Eagles for a 7-6 victory before completing the sweep with a 5-3 win in Game 2, as the Comets captured the Midwestern League title at Crater High School.
“It does feel good. It’s been a long time coming,” said coach Chris Arnold, whose Comets last won a league title in 2010. “This has been a focus for the girls all season and our focus has been narrowing. We had to be dialed in tonight, and even though we weren’t perfect with seven errors, both pitchers pitched well and we played well as a team. Eagle Point is tough and they really put the ball in play tonight.”
The Comets (19-5, 14-0 MWL) have one more Midwestern League doubleheader against Willamette before hosting the opening round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
Crater chalked up four runs in the first inning, highlighted by Kaci Carder’s two-run double and jumped out to a 6-2 lead on Carder’s two-run home run in the bottom of the third.
After tallying one run in the top of the fifth to cut Crater’s lead to 6-3, Shopp belted a three-run homer to knot the score 6-all in the top of the sixth.
In the bottom of the frame, the Comets’ Anna Myers reached base on an error in right field then was sacrifice bunted over to second by Cheyenne Burton. After Presley Robison walked to put runners on second and third, Lee knocked Myers home with a one-out single to put the Comets up 7-6.
Comets starting pitcher Hannah Joseph sealed the victory with three straight outs in the top of the seventh inning to improve to 8-1.
Carder finished 2-for-3 with two runs and four RBIs and Marissa Eilenberger was 2-for-3 for Crater while Joseph fanned eight and allowed four runs on eight hits and did not issue a walk.
Shopp added a double and finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs for Eagle Point (13-7, 11-3), which remains in second place.
In the nightcap, once again, the Comets opened with four runs in the first inning when Joseph slammed a three-run homer to give Crater a 4-1 advantage.
Megan Wagner went the distance from the pitcher’s circle for Crater, allowing three runs — just one earned — on four hits, two walks to go with one strikeout.
Joseph finished 2-for-3 and added a triple while Robison came away 2-for-3 with a run.
Areona Conte went 2-for-3 for the Eagles.
Shopp and Thompson; Joseph and Sanderson. W — Joseph (8-1). L — Shopp. 2B — EP: Shopp, Worrell; C: Joseph, Carder. HR — EP: Shopp 2; C: Carder.
Shopp and Thompson; Wagner and Sanderson. W — Wagner (4-2). L — Shopp. 2B — EP: Nielsen, Shopp, Conte. 3B — C: Joseph. HR — C: Joseph.
SOUTH UMPQUA 10-6, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 0-1: At Myrtle Creek, South Umpqua senior pitcher Tayah Kelley limited Cascade Christian to just one run in the Far West League doubleheader and the Lancers won the league championship with the sweep.
The Challengers (20-5, 10-2 FWL) had defeated South Umpqua (19-4, 11-1) 2-1 on Monday to grab first place — one game ahead of the Lancers .
Cascade struggled defensively, with six errors in each game the led to 11 unearned runs on the day.
In the five-inning opener, both Challengers hits off Kelley came in the fourth inning when Katelyn Willard hit a two-out double but was thrown out at home trying to score on Mallory Meilicke’s single.
Kara Palmer had two hits and one RBI for Cascade in Game 2.
South Umpqua’s Kelley struck out eight in each game and also had a pair of hits in both contests.
Willard and Modrell; Kelley and Rudy. W — Kelley. L — Willard. 2B — CC: Willard; SU: Kelley 2. 3B — SU: Gray .
Willard and Modrel; Kelley and Rudy. W — Kelley. L — Willard (20-5). 2B — CC: Palmer, Willard; SU: Kelley, Mann.
CRATER 4-10, EAGLE POINT 0-5: At Central Point, senior pitcher Blake Hollingsworth tossed a five-hit shutout in the opener and Crater used an 11-hit attack to win the nightcap of a Midwestern League doubleheader sweep at Anhnorn Field.
The twin victory breaks an MWL sixth-place tie between the Comets (11-13, 7-7 MWL) and the Eagles (8-13, 5-9).
Trever Davis and Payton Anhorn each had two hits and one RBI to lead Crater in Game 1.
Domenic Fontana had two of Eagle Point’s five hits.
In the second game, Crater jumped on Eagles starter Fontana for three runs in the first inning and never trailed.
For Crater, Jojo Johnson and Anhorn contributed two hits and one RBI each, while Garrett Dance and Gilliland both chipped in two hits.
Jake Leeper homered and doubled for the Eagles while teammates Kolbi Blevins, Lucas Meerten and Fontana also all came up with two hits.
Gaudern and Kendrick; Hollingsworth and Gilliland. W — Hollingsworth . L — Gaudern.
Fontana, Foulon (2), Lund (6) and Kendrick; Scott, Douglas (6) and Gilliland. W — Scott. L — Fontana. 2B — EP: Leeper; C: Davis, Johnson. 3B — EP: Fontana HR: EP: Leeper.
SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE DISTRICT TOURNAMENT: At Roseburg, South Medford had two singles players and a doubles team lose in the quarterfinal round of the SWC event at the Umpqua Tennis Club.
Nolan Bartlett and Elliott Hikade lost in singles while Seth Parks and Jay Panchale were knocked out of the main doubles bracket for the Panthers.
North Medford singles player Dylan Almanz registered a win in the consolation bracket.
SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE DISTRICT TOURNAMENT: At Roseburg, the South Medford doubles team of Grace Bryan and Abbey Hageman won a first-round match 7-5, 6-3 but lost in the Round of 16 during the first day of the SWC tournament at the Umpqua Tennis Center.
The tournament concludes on Saturday.
CLASS 4A/3A/2A DISTRICT 3 TOURNAMENT: Finley Cox and Alicia Lu of St. Mary’s won straight set victories to advance in singles at Fichtner-Mainwaring Park.
Cox didn’t lost a game in her love victory and Lu posted a 6-3, 6-0 win.
Phoenix singles player Bella Hoye and the Pirates doubles team of Courtney House and Maryam Hoorain won matches on the opening day.
The tournament will finish today at Fichtner-Mainwaring Park.