The Lady Dawgs’ celebrated seniors (from left) Izzy Ramirez, team manager Bentley Watson, Hallie Drago, Morgan Janshen and Aubrie Hatch following last week’s senior night victory over Santiam Christian. Photo Provided/Brett Giles
A 13-3 six-inning loss to league leader Harrisburg on May 13 had Creswell tied with Santiam Christian for second in league standings. So, with the top three teams headed for state playoffs, it came down to Creswell’s May 17 senior night game against Santiam Christian to decide the Mountain Valley Conference’s second and third seeds for state – and the Lady Dawgs emerged victorious, clinching second place in league and second seed to state with a 5-4 win over the Eagles.
”We expected and got another close, hard-fought game,” said head coach Brett Giles. ”We’d come so close to going to state the last few years, and this season the team had opportunities to fold due to attrition, injuries and other school commitments, but they persevered and improved as a team and we made it.”
The game was a nail-biter. SC scored one and Creswell two in the first; the Eagles added one in the second and another in the third, and the Lady Dawgs tied it in the fourth. SC retook the lead in the top of the fifth, and Creswell tied it again in the bottom of the inning and took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth as Hallie Drago scored on a close play at the plate.
Santiam Christian opened the seventh with a hard line drive caught by Morgan Janshen for the first out. Aubrie Hatch corralled a grounder and threw to Janshen at first for the second out, and Hatch caught another line drive for the game-ending third out.
”We had a great crowd at the game and both teams gave everything they had,” Giles said.
Destiney Black gave up four runs (two earned) on three hits – including a double, struck out two and walked three.
”Destiney pitched a great game, keeping the Santiam Christian batters off-balance,” Giles said.
Fielders accounted for 19 of Creswell’s 21 outs. ”Our defense has been improving and it showed,” Giles said.
At the plate, Drago went 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI and two runs.
Black went 2-for-3 with an RBI, Jenessa Mallory went 1-for-3 with a double and scored, Gracelyn Ehrich went 1-for-3 with an RBI, Abbe Grubbs went 1-for-4 with an RBI, Janshen went 1-for-4, and Hatch and Karinna Leonard each scored.
After the game, the Lady Dawgs honored seniors Drago, Hatch, Janshen, Izzy Ramirez and team manager, Bentley Watson. The girls’ families congratulated them with balloons, flowers and other gifts as the seniors’ letters of appreciation and favorite softball memories were read aloud.
At Harrisburg, absent Janshen and Hatch due to a National Honor Society event, Creswell started five freshmen: Grubbs (catcher), Leonard (left field), Emma Maness (first base), Carter Kruger (second base) and Zaide Allen (right field).
”They tried hard, but Harrisburg played a better game,” Giles said.
Creswell was down 11-0 after four, following a grand slam by Harrisburg senior Cynthia Downs.
”That pretty much sealed the game,” Giles said.
Although the Lady Dawgs posted three runs in the fifth, Harrisburg added two in the bottom of the sixth to trigger the 10-run rule.
A double by Leonard – who went 1-for-2 and scored – and a single by Ehrich – 1-for-3 with an RBI – were Creswell’s only base hits. Black and Drago each had an RBI; Maness and Allen each scored.
”We at times hit the ball hard, but right at their defense – and Harrisburg played solid all night,” Giles said. ”We had our chances but ended up stranding seven runners on base.”
Black gave up 13 runs (eight earned) on eight hits – including the four-RBI homer and a double, struck out six, walked three and hit one.
”Both pitchers had good games, but we had a rough fourth inning fielding the ball,” Giles said.
This week, 15th-ranked Creswell travels to second-ranked Dayton for a state playoff game. Eighth-ranked League Champion Harrisburg hosts ninth-ranked Scio and 12th-ranked Santiam Christian travels to fifth-ranked Rainier.