By Gini Davis
The Creswell Chronicle
After spending two weeks tied with Harrisburg atop Mountain Valley Conference softball team standings, the Creswell Lady Bulldogs dropped into a 5-3 tie with Santiam Christian for second place after narrowly losing to both Eagles squads last week.
The Lady Dawgs were edged 11-9 by the visiting Harrisburg Eagles (7-1) on April 30 and by the host Santiam Christian Eagles 8-7 on May 2.
“We had two tough games that ended up being tough and frustrating losses,” acknowledged Creswell Head Coach Brett Giles. “Both games,” he added, “saw early leads evaporate due to a combination of breakdowns in defense and offense sputtering,” while Creswell’s late-game comeback efforts “fell just short.”
Against 10th-ranked Harrisburg, Creswell led 7-3 after three innings and 8-4 after five. But a sixth-inning breakdown allowed the Eagles to score seven to take a 10-8 lead, and the Lady Dawgs came up short in the seventh as just one runner scored.
Morgan Janshen went 3-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and a run and Hallie Drago went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two runs to lead Creswell’s effort from the plate.
Gabby Halgren went 2-for-3 with an RBI, Aubrie Hatch went 1-for-3 with an RBI and two runs, Izzy Ramirez went 1-for-2 with three runs, Gracelyn Ehrich went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and Jenessa Mallory scored.
In the pitcher’s circle, Destiney Black gave up 11 runs (eight earned) on 14 hits – including four doubles – and struck out three.
At Santiam Christian, Creswell again started strong, leading 4-1 after three innings. But the 13th-ranked Eagles scored five in the fourth to take a 6-4 lead.
In the fifth, Creswell added two while SC posted one, and the Eagles added another in the sixth to make it 8-6. Another one-run seventh again left the Lady Dawgs short.
Hatch went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs; Drago went 1-for-4 with a triple and two runs; Black went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run; Janshen went 1-for-4 with an RBI and two runs; and Ehrich went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Black gave up eight runs (three earned) on five hits, struck out four, walked two and hit one.
“Both Harrisburg and Santiam Christian took advantage of the opportunities we gave them as good teams should,” Giles said, noting that both Ramirez and Halgren suffered injuries in the Harrisburg game and may be out the rest of the season.
With just two games this week and two next week remaining in the regular season and the Lady Dawgs’ state hopes potentially riding on their outcomes, “Hopefully, we have some players step up and fill the void,” he said.