Huskies lose softball heartbreaker to Newport

Newport 5, Sweet Home 4

The Huskies lost a heartbreaker 5-4 in nine innings to Newport at home on Wednesday, ending their chance to compete in the state softball playoffs.

“It’s disappointing,” Coach Steve Hummer said. “Earlier in the season when we need to be playing well, we didn’t get it done.”

The Huskies have been playing well, but this one got away from them.

Now it’s time to reset their goals, setting their sights on defeating the Central powerhouse again and wining the last four games of the season, and then reload for next year.

“It was a great game,” Hummer said. The Huskies held a 2-0 lead going into the sixth inning. Newport went ahead, but the Huskies tied it up again in the bottom of the sixth running the game into extra innings.

The Huskies scored a run in the first when Paige Niemi doubled. Bayli Riggs knocked her in. The Huskies scored again in the fifth when Shelbey Gillespie singled. Hailee Huenergardt doubled to bring Gillespie home.

In the top of the sixth, Newport had one out when a batter singled. That was followed by a walk, two hits and an error to score three runs and take a 3-2 lead.

“We made a mistake,” Hummer said. “That cost us two runs.”

Newport still had a runner on second, and a single scored her.

In the bottom of the sixth, Megan Rubidoux reached base. Niemi hit a sacrifice bunt to advance Rubidoux. Emili Riggs singled Rubidoux home to tie the game 3-3.

The tie lasted until the ninth inning, when Newport repeated its sixth-inning performance. The Huskies opened with an error. With a bunt, walk and hit, Newport was ahead 5-3.

The Huskies scored in the bottom of the inning when Gillespie was hit by a pitch. She advanced to second on a wild pitch. She reached third on a ground hit and scored on a wild pitch.

“We competed,” Hummer said. “We fought hard. We had a great game. It was two evenly matched teams. We had a chance to beat them, but we made a mistake twice.”

The Huskies needed to make plays early in the game when they threatened to score, he said. They ended the first inning with runners at first and second. In the second, bases were loaded. In the third and fourth innings, the Huskies had runners at first and second again but didn’t score.

“We needed a key hit, and we just didn’t come up with it,” he said, but the Huskies fought back hard when they fell behind.

Gillespie went 2-3 with two doubles. Huenergardt went 2-5. B. Riggs went 2-5 with a double.

Senior Niemi had probably the best game of her career, Hummer said. She went 3-4 with two doubles and a sac bunt.

B. Riggs pitched nine innings, striking out eight Newport batters. She gave up 10 hits and three walks.

The Huskies made a lot of good defensive plays, Hummer said. Tiffanie Cuilla came up with a big one to prevent a Newport run.

The season isn’t over, Hummer said. The team still has Central, Philomath and Taft left in league play and Harrisburg in non-league play.

Newport 000 003 002 €“ 5 10 3

Sweet Home 100 011 001 €“ 4 12 3