Lady Huskies clinch first softball title since ’89

Sweet Home’s girls clinched their first league championship since 1989 by beating North Marion 11-3 Monday to finish the regular season tied for the Capital Conference lead with Cascade.

The title was vindication for new softball coach Steve Hummer and his team.

“We set a goal to be Capital Conference Champions in February,” Hummer said. “Today we are co-Capital Conference Champions. After starting the league at 4-4 we felt we were playing for a state berth, not the title. Seven games later we are 11-4 and champions.

“I am so proud of my girls. They have worked hard and fought the good fight. Today we have been rewarded.”

Sweet Home scored three runs in the first inning and led 5-0 going into the bottom of the third, before the Huskies got a little sloppy and committed a couple of errors that allowed North Marion to score twice.

But Sweet Home clamped down, adding two more runs in the fifth and four in the seventh for an 11-2 lead. North Marion was able to add one more in the bottom of the seventh.

“We really got the bats going tonight and competed well,” Hummer said. “Sara Brocard and Chelsea Gregory hit the ball well and we competed in the heat. I was impressed with Sara; she was exhausted after the game and had every reason to take a break, instead she went 3-4, caught the whole game, stole a base and showed how tough she is.”

Brocard collected two RBIs and a triple, while Gregory went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a double.

On the mound, Makenzie Marchbanks notched 11 strikeouts, while allowing six runs.

The Huskies will open the playoffs Monday, May 22, at home against an opponent yet to be determined. It will be the first softball state playoff game in Sweet Home since 1989. Game time has yet to be announced.

“I am so proud of the girls, but we are not done,” Hummer said. “We are now heading into the next season and we expect to have success.”

123 4567 R H E

Sweet Home 302 0204 11 11 3

North Marion 002 0001 3 6 6

Sweet Home 2, Stayton 1

At the end of the week, with a 2-1 victory over the Stayton Eagles, the Husky softball team was in a three-way tie for first place in the Capital Conference.

The Huskies were scheduled to play at North Marion on Monday, but results were not available.

A win gives the team an 11-4 league record and a 14-7 overall record. The Huskies started the week tied 10-4 with the Cascade Cougars and Molalla Indians.

Cascade and Molalla were scheduled to play on Monday, so if the Huskies “if we can find a way to win on Monday, we will at least be assured a second-place finish and host a first-round state playoff game,” Husky Coach Steve Hummer said. “Cascade and Molalla have both beaten us twice, so they hold the tiebreaker on us.”

Against Stayton on Thursday, neither team hit the ball much, Hummer said. “The bottom line was that we got it done.”

Stayton scored the first run of the ball game in the top of the sixth, but the Huskies responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Stayton failed to score another run in the seventh, ending the game.

“Mac (Makenzie Marchbanks) had 12 strikeouts and three walks,” Hummer said. “Sara (Brocard) and Mac really did a good job changing pitch speeds tonight. The last time we played Stayton, they hit us well. The girls really worked at trying to change speeds and not give them a lot of first-pitch fast balls.

“Offensively, we put the bat on the ball and made them make plays. We only got two hits, but we only struck out three times.

“(Nicki) Aerni and (Jessalyn) Seiber both got down good bunts that put pressure on the defense. We scored in the sixth on a ground ball by (Michelle) Cliver that their third baseman made a mistake on. Mac then hit a sac fly to left that scored Aerni.

“Our kids did a good job getting leads off the bases tonight. It allowed us to get a couple of extra bases here and there.”

On May 9, the Huskies defeated Molalla 3-1 at home.

Stayton 000 0010 1 2 4

Sweet Home 000 002x 2 2 1

Capital Conference

standings as of 11 p.m. Monday

Cascade 11-4 17-7

Sweet Home 11-4 15-7

Molalla 10-5 17-5

Stayton 8-6 15-7

Sisters 3-11 6-14

North Marion 1-14 3-17