Huskies edged by Central in 10-inning game, beat Corvallis

Central 1, Sweet Home 0

In a contest of endurance, Central just edged out Sweet Home 1-0 in the 10th inning to win the final regular season game for these two teams.

The game, held at Central on May 15, held little meaning for state playoffs, with two wins over Sweet Home already under its belt, Central was first seed from the Val-Co no matter what happened.

But if Sweet Home would have won, the Huskies would have finished with the same overall league record as Central, their toughest opponent this season.

“It was a pretty intense game,” catcher Sara Brocard said. “I really wanted to win. I thought we deserved to win.”

She was kind of upset over some defensive mental mistakes and also about not getting many hits, she said. Central’s pitcher’s “release is different. She has a lot of spin so it’s hard to pick up that kind of pitch.”

“It was a heartbreak – we lost it,” shortstop Michelle Cliver said. “It was kind of a repeat of Cascade (Capital Conference) last year.”

Neither team was hitting well, but both defenses were good, Cliver said. Central’s pitcher is quite competitive, but “we’ve been working our hitting, and we’ve really come a long way.”

“It would have been nice to win, but we did really well, I thought,” pitcher Makenzie Marchbanks said. “I thought we just played really good defense in key situations.”

The two teams field the best pitchers in the league, Marchbanks for Sweet Home and Kayla Auer of Central; but both teams managed to get some hits last week.

She also complimented Central’s pitcher.

“She did a really good job of changing speeds and moving the ball around,” Marchbanks said. “I think that if we see her again, we’ll be able to hit her better.”

“I think they got eight hits in this game,” Coach Steve Hummer said. “We got five.”

Auer has a .9 earned run average, while Marchbanks has a 1.25 ERA.

Several times, starting in the first inning with Cliver, both teams had runners on third base threatening to score; but the opposing defense and pitcher never gave them a chance to make it in.

“We just could never get the big hit,” Hummer said. “It was classic softball. It was just a matter of who was going to crack first.

“They put some bunts down in the 10th inning and put runners on base.”

The Huskies made some mental mistakes on the bunts, and the bases ended up loaded with one out, Hummer said. A soft ground ball to Michelle Cliver tipped off her glove letting in the winning run.

“We’ve got to give them some credit,” Hummer said. “They put the ball into play.”

He was proud of his team too, he said. “It was a great game. It was a great defensive effort. Neither team wanted to break at all.

“It was just a matter of time until someone stubs their tow. Unfortunately, we stubbed our toe first.” We just didn’t find a way to get someone from third to home.”

The game went to overtime after an odd play that had Central celebrating the win at first.

Central had one runner who reached second on a double. The team had one out. The next batter popped the ball to Marchbanks near the first baseline. She threw to second base to catch the runner there, but Marchbanks overthrew to centerfield. The Central runner headed for home.

Centerfield threw the ball to Brocard at catcher, but that runner had already reach home.

“They thought the game was over,” Hummer said. “They were starting to celebrate. I was yelling at Sara, throw to second. She didn’t tag up.”

The Central runner realized that and started running back as Brocard threw the ball to Cliver at shortstop.

Since the runner was headed back to second, the umpires ruled it as interference when the Central runner ran into Cliver, Hummer said.

The Huskies got the next hitter out and moved on to overtime.

“I think it tells us that our team is very resilient,” Brocard said. “Ten innings of tough ball, we barely let up at the end. Central is a very good team.”

“When we came off the seventh, it was a relief,” Hummer said. “It’s kind of like a huge boxing match. You just keep delivering blows, and sooner or later you want to deliver the knockout punch.”

The Huskies kept punching away, he said. “We were trying to at least tie for the league title.”

Marchbanks pitched 9 2/3 innings and faced 40 batters. She struck out 14, gave up eight hits and one walk.

Hitting for the Huskies, with one each, were Kimberlee Bell, Cliver, Marchbanks, Lacey Mink and Becky Spencer.

The Husky defense committed six errors, three on a single play in the last inning, while Central committed only one.

“That’s why they won the game,” Hummer said. Central pressured the Huskies, and it cost the Huskies the game.

Sweet Home was scheduled to face Yamhill-Carlton Tuesday in their first appearance in the state tournament.

“I’m really focused,” Cliver said. “It’s kind of all about business. That’s great we made the playoffs, but it’s not over till it’s over. I feel like we’re really well-prepared.”

“I think we’re pretty confident,” Marchbanks said. “This is what we’ve been working for. We’re going try as hard as we can. We’re going into it with the goal that we’ll make it all the way.”

Sweet Home 000 000 000 0 – 0 5 6

Central 000 000 000 1 – 1 8 1

Sweet Home 2, Corvallis 1

The Huskies defeated Corvallis 2-1 in an extra non-league game May 16 at Corvallis (18-6), breaking a 12-game winning streak.

The Huskies scored both their runs on two errors made in the same play in the fifth inning, Hummer said. Corvallis scored on a solo homerun from Debra Pounder in the bottom of the sixth inning.

“Their pitcher is good,” he said. “She has a full ride to OSU. She throws it at about 65 mph, and she was giving us fits.”

She struck out nine batters, and then Brocard put a bunt “right in front of the pitcher,” he said, but “she couldn’t get to it.”

Spencer bunted, and Brocard stole second. The catcher attempted to throw Brocard out, and Spencer reached first base.

Next up, Kaci Pettit was called out for three strikes; but the catcher bumped her in the box keeping the play alive, Hummer said. Brocard and Spencer were both stealing. The catcher overthrew third into left field allowing Brocard to beat the ball and score. The pitcher overthrew third again trying to pick off Spencer, and Spencer made it home.

Marchbanks struck out 14 batters, gave up two hits and walked two. Corvallis pitcher Karmen Holladay struck out 17 batters.

Sweet Home 000 020 0 – 2 1 1

Corvallis 000 001 0 – 1 2 2