Softball playoffs: Henley explodes to down Huskies

The top team in the 4A-5 Skyline Conference was too much for Sweet Home softball to handle Wednesday, as the Huskies’ long trip to Henley High School for its round-of-16 game in the 4A state playoffs ended with a 15-0 loss at the hands of the Hornets.

“Henley hit the ball through the lineup,” Head Coach Karyn Hartsook said. “They outperformed us offensively.”

She did note some bright spots, particularly in the play of two seniors in their last career game.

“Even though this game did not go like we had planned, Chloe Fairchild went 2-2 in a true senior leader performance, along with Maddie Harris, who was 1-1 with a walk for two strong offensive showings.”

Unfortunately for the Huskies, those instances were the only times that Sweet Home players got on base.

Henley got rolling early, putting up five runs in the first inning on Husky hurler Makayla Guthrie.

Guthrie allowed three more runs in the second before Sweet Home switched to Harris in the circle, who was able to get her team out of the inning.

But she wasn’t able to keep the Hornet attack at bay for long, as Henley put up three runs in the third and four in the fourth on its way to a 10-run-rule win after 4½ innings.

In one and a third innings, Guthrie allowed four earned runs on five hits, including two homers. Harris, in two and two thirds innings in the circle, also allowed four earned runs, on seven hits, while striking out two and walking one.

Henley posted 15 hits in the stat sheet, to Sweet Home’s three. The Hornets were perfect defensively, committing no errors, while Sweet Home made three.

Sweet Home finished the season ranked no. 9 in the state for 4A, with a 19-7 record overall and a 13-5 record in the Oregon West Conference.

Henley, no. 8, finished at 15-13, with a 14-1 record in the Skyline Conference. The Hornets were eliminated in the round of eight Friday with an 8-0 loss at Marist Catholic.

Hartsook expressed pride in how her team fared this season. “Finishing in the Sweet 16 is a huge accomplishment for this group,” she said. “They all should be proud of the run we had… I know I am.”