Young softball team ends season in 21-2 playoff loss

Cascade 21, Sweet Home 2

Cascade eliminated Sweet Home from the state softball playoffs with a 21-2 win at Cascade on Friday.

“The score kind of speaks for itself,” Coach Steve Hummer said. “As far as my kids, I’m really proud of them.”

Hummer didn’t pin the reason for the loss on any one thing. He said he thought it was probably a combination of different things, including the team’s youth, the weather and then the momentum Cascade built quickly on its home field.

The Huskies went out and got a couple runs in the top of the first inning as Bayli Riggs reached first, and Ashley Cochran went in to run for the pitcher. Cochran stole second, and Hailee Huenergardt knocked her in to get things rolling.

The team was feeling positive headed into the bottom of the first, Hummer said. “When we took the field, I don’t know if it was the inexperience – I don’t know if it was the hundred degrees.”

The Huskies defeated Cascade on the road 5-2 to start the season, and they faced the same exact squad.

This time, Cascade quickly collected four hits, Hummer said. “Once momentum gets on your side – They just felt like they could hit anything. You could see it in their eyes.”

The Huskies committed errors and pitching fell off, he said. When they had opportunities to make something happen, they didn’t.

The Huskies trailed 13-2 after the first inning.

It’s partly the Huskies youth, Hummer said. It was partly the weather. The Huskies closed out their regular season on May 13 in cool, wet weather at Newport, and next game they were playing under 100-degrees on the field.

Laura Gourley substituted for catcher Shelbey Gillespie out after two innings because of the heat, Hummer said. Riggs’ pitching was off the mark, and her velocity wasn’t her usual. Tasha Saunders pitched in relief.

This year’s team is also missing six of last year’s starters, Hummer said. The team filled those spots with freshmen, and they achieved their goal of reaching the playoffs.

“I think most people would’ve laughed when we said our goal was to get into the playoffs,” Hummer said. They worked hard all season and put themselves into a position to meet their goal.

Now they’re focusing on a state championship three years from now, Hummer said. “I think this group can do it.”

Every member of the team except the only departing senior, Becky Spencer, is playing summer ball, Hummer said. Coach Chris Hiaasen will coach the high school summer team. Hummer will coach the 14-and-under team, and Shane Cochran will coach the 12-and-under team.

The program will have 40 athletes playing on traveling teams this summer, Hummer said.

All-league honors went to freshman Riggs, first-team pitcher; Spencer, second-team third base; Paige Niemi, second-team outfield; Gillespie, honorable mention catcher; Lacey Mink, honorable mention, infield; and Saunders, honorable mention pitcher and infielder.