By Gini Davis
The Creswell Chronicle
The Lady Bulldogs (3-1) are tied with Harrisburg (3-1) atop league standings after an 11-5 victory over host Harrisburg on April 16 and a 7-6 nail-biter over visiting Santiam Christian on April 18.
Harrisburg scored three runs in the first inning, but Creswell rallied for five in the second and took a 5-3 lead.
The Eagles had bases loaded with two outs in the third inning before Izzy Ramirez scooped up a ground ball and touched third base, stranding the runners. A double play by Aubrie Hatch in the fourth denied the Eagles any momentum and Creswell held a 10-3 lead until Harrisburg added two more runs in the sixth.
Creswell added a final run in the seventh.
“It was a very good victory over a real good team,” said Head Coach Brett Giles. “Our defense did make some mistakes but made a number of routine and difficult plays also.”
Pitcher Destiney Black gave up five earned runs on 10 hits – including three doubles, struck out three, walked three and hit two.
“Destiney was able to move the ball around the plate and change speeds effectively throughout the game,” Giles said.
Black also went 3-for-4 from the plate, with a double and four RBIs, while Grubbs went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBIs and a run.
Hallie Drago went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs; Ramirez went 1-for-1 with two runs; and Jenessa Mallory went 1-for-4 with an RBI and two runs.
“As a team, we hit the ball much better in this game,” Giles said. “The ball was coming off the bats with much more force and overall we swung at strikes and not stuff out of the zone.”
Against Santiam Christian, Gracelyn Ehrich’s base-clearing double scored Mallory, Carter Kruger and Drago to cap a six-run second inning for the Lady Dawgs.
Creswell’s 7-1 lead held until the sixth, when SC scored two and loaded the bases. But Drago caught the next batter’s short infield fly and forced out the straying third-base runner.
“They went from bases loaded and no outs to runners on first and second and two outs,” Giles said.
Black struck out the next batter to end the inning, but Creswell struggled in the seventh. “Our nerves got to us,” Giles said. “We just couldn’t make an out.” Three Creswell errors left SC with runners at first and second with one out and the Lady Dawgs clinging to a one-run lead.
Black “made some great pitches,” Giles said, in striking out the next batter, and Drago scooped up the final batter’s grounder and stepped on second for the force out.
“You couldn’t imagine all the tension felt on that field among fans of both teams, coaching staffs and players,” Giles said. “It was a great feeling of relief when we finally got that last out.”
Black gave up six runs (two earned) on eight hits, struck out eight, walked two and hit two.
Ehrich went 1-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and a run; Ramirez went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI; Gabby Halgren went 1-for-3 with a double and a run; and Drago and Abbe Grubbs each went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run.
Giles praised the scrappiness of the Lady Dawgs, who after playing so well early had to dig deep to preserve the win.
I’m proud of our team,” he said. “We could have easily crumbled but in both innings, players stepped up and got the outs necessary to secure the victory.”
In a 10-4 non-league loss at Sutherlin on April 19, Black gave up 10 runs (seven earned) on 13 hits – including a double, struck out six, walked two and hit one.
Singles from Black, Grubbs, Halgren, Kruger and Ramirez were Creswell’s only hits.
“After the emotional rollercoaster the night before, we were just flat,” Giles said, noting that the Lady Dawgs went three-and-out in the first, second, fourth and seventh innings.
“We put three on the board in the fifth and one in the sixth, but it wasn’t nearly enough,” Giles added. “One positive is our younger girls are hitting the ball and improving in the field.”
Rain can’t deter CHS lady golfers
Stymied since March by inclement weather, CHS girls’ golf team finally played its first match of the season at a nine-hole event hosted by Salem Academy on April 15 at Creekside Golf Club.
Creswell’s Abby Mercer finished sixth and her teammate, Bentley Watson, competed in her first tournament.
The “highlight of the day,” coach Stan Mercer said, was Watson’s first golf shot in competition: “The toughest shot in golf is always the drive on the first tee, and Bentley crushed one right down the middle,” he said.