Softball team seeks sixth win, faces tough Newport

After beating fourth-ranked Central at Central last week, Sweet Home softball team has been on a roll, winning four more games, including a dominating 20-3 victory at Taft.

After their win over Central, the Huskies got by Philomath 4-2 on April 21, then rolled over Taft in Lincoln City on April 23 before traveling to Regis, where they picked up a 5-2 win on April 25. They followed that with a home victory over Pleasant Hill Monday, April 27, outscoring the Billies 13-3.

With two weeks left in the league season, Coach Steve Hummer says the Huskies, now in third place with a 5-3 mark, need to win out to guarantee themselves a trip to state.

“The win over Central was big,” Hummer said. “We just have to play with confidence every night. We have been lately.”

The wins have been marked by solid pitching from Bayli Riggs and stand-up defense, with aggressive hitting in all but the Philomath game.

Whether the Huskies, 11-6 overall, can keep that roll going will be the test as they are scheduled to host Newport Wednesday, April 29, followed by another trip to Central on Friday. Sweet Home will then play at Philomath Tuesday, May 5, before finishing out the league season against Taft at home on Monday, May 11.

“We’ve won five games in a row,” Hummer said. “We have a chance to beat Newport and Central.”

SH 4, Philomath 2

Freshman Emili Riggs led a “flat” Sweet Home team at Philomath, going 2 for 2 with a double.

“We didn’t hit the ball real well,” Hummer said. “Emotionally, we were a little flat after playing Central the night before.”

Still, the Huskies did what they had to, with Megan Rubidoux, Laura Gourley, Shelbey Gillespie, Kristin Tolle and Tiffanie Cuilla all contributing a hit each.

“We played good defense and we did well enough to get the job done,” Hummer said.

Bayli Riggs gave up five hits but struck out eight, though she walked “too many” Philomath batters, Hummer noted.

“We found a way to get it done,” he said. “That’s all that matters.”

Phil 010 001 0 2 5 0

SH 001 102 x 4 7 0

SH 20, Taft 3

Laura Gourley and Paige Niemi caught fire at the plate, going 5-5 and 4-4 respectively as the Huskies “hit the heck out of the ball” at Taft.

Sweet Home scored at least three runs in each of the first four innings, getting three hits each from Bayli and Emili Riggs. The Huskies had six doubles and two triples.

Bayli Riggs was powerful on the pitching rubber, dishing out seven strike-outs and one walk whil giving up just four hits.

“There’s not a bunch to say,” Hummer said, noting that the Huskies did well adjusting to slower pitching from Taft. “The score speaks for itself.”

SH 353 603 €“ 20 21 3

T 012 000 €“ 3 4 5

SH 5, Regis 2

Sweet Home scored four runs in the 10th inning against the Rams, the Huskies’ other run coming in the first inning when Emili Riggs stole home, sliding headfirst under the tag to score.

“It was a pretty big play because it turned out to be the only run we got the whole game,” Hummer said. “It was a pretty gutsy play by her.”

Bayli Riggs pitched “very well,” he said, throwing nine strikeouts and walking three while giving up four runs.

“Bayli is pitching very well for us right now,” Hummer said, noting that Tasha Saunders, Sweet Home’s other pitcher, is injured, which puts “a heavy burden on Bayli.”

Riggs also was the one who pulled the trigger in the bottom of the 10th inning after the Huskies loaded the bases, hitting a three-run double to break the game open.

SH 100 000 000 4 5 5 1

R 000 000 000 1 2 4 2

SH 13, Pleasant Hill 3

Bayli Riggs went on the offensive against the Billies, going 2 for 3 with a double and a triple to lead Sweet Home.

“She was in a slump at the end of the last Regis game and she’s now breaking out of it, which is nice,” Hummer said.

Laura Gourley went 2-4 and Shelbey Gillespie added two more hits on three trips to the plate to keep the offensive pressure on for the Huskies.

Hummer said Ashley Cochran made some nice plays in left field and, although the balls weren’t falling for her on offense, she hit some hard shots “but didn’t get rewarded for it.”

PH 201 000 €“ 3 3 4

SH 301 333 €“13 12 2