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PREP ROUNDUP: Eagles, Crusaders fall in playoffs

For all the drama and excitement the Eagle Point softball team enjoyed in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs, the Eagles were unable to build on that momentum in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Two days after rallying to edge West Albany in extra innings, Eagle Point managed only one hit against Michigan-bound pitcher Madison Erickson and came up short, 9-1, against No. 2 seed Wilsonville to end the Eagles’ season.

Seventh-seeded Eagle Point wrapped up its season 19-9 overall after finishing runner-up in the Midwestern League standings.

“I’m really pleased with this particular group,” said EP head coach John White. “We didn’t have the lights out pitcher and we just battled all the time. The kids never gave up all year long. I’m really, really proud of them to get as far as they got.”

Wilsonville (26-3) scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take early control of the quarterfinal, but the Eagles were able to claw back with a run in the top of the third.

Eagle Point junior Madysin Gray drew a walk to give the Eagles a rare baserunner against Erickson, and senior Emilee Nielsen came through with a clutch two-out double to make it 3-1.

“We were right in the ballgame at that point,” said White, “and then it just kind of got away from us.”

Wilsonville’s Taylor Hadden hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third and Grace Wilson added a solo homer in the fourth to propel the Wildcats.

“That two-run home run from Hadden kind of deflated us a little bit,” said White, “and then it kind of became an uphill battle.”

Erickson wound up striking out nine and induced a lot of pop-ups and weak grounders to keep EP at bay.

“She moved the ball around and she’s got a variety of pitches and kept us off balance,” said White of the future Wolverine.

Wilsonville will face No. 3 Lebanon, a 10-0 winner over Ridgeview, in Tuesday’s semifinals. The opposite matchup features No. 1 Pendleton/Griswold against No. 5 Dallas/Falls City.

“It’s going to be interesting to see who comes out of this because there’s some really good pitching that’s left in the final four teams,” said White.

Eagle Point0010000—110

Wilsonville302130x—960

Smith, Nielsen (5) and Nielsen, Hanan (5); Erickson and Holly. W — Erickson. L — Smith. 2B — EP: Nielsen; W: Erickson. HR — W: Hadden, Wilson.

Baseball

SOUTH UMPQUA 6, ST. MARY’S 1: At Myrtle Creek, St. Mary’s managed only two hits against South Umpqua pitcher Jace Johnson to fall short in the 3A state quarterfinal round in a matchup of Far West League foes.

South Umpqua (23-5), which swept the three-game regular season series between the teams, scored once in the third but broke the game open with a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Johnson had six strikeouts and one walk in his two-hitter.

Only one of the six runs against St. Mary’s pitcher Beau Aldrich was earned after five errors by the 10th-seeded Crusaders (14-12). Aldrich struck out seven and walked one.

St. Mary’s recorded singles by Ean Lawrence in the first inning and Grant Russo in the fifth.

The Crusaders broke up a shutout bid by Johnson in the sixth inning when Travis Johnson reached on an error, eventually moved to third on a groundout by Lawrence and scored when a grounder by Eli Haynes got past the first baseman for another error in the inning.

Jace Johnson and Kade Johnson each had two hits for the second-seeded Lancers.

St. Mary’s0000010—125

South Umpqua001221x—684

Aldrich and Lawrence; J. Johnson and Horton. W — J. Johnson. L — Aldrich. 2B — SU: K. Johnson, Chavez.

Eagle Point softball coach John White instructs his players between innings earlier this season.