Pioneers lose 11-inning heartbreaker

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BANKS, Ore. - Mac-Hi's softball season ended in a heartbreaking, 11-inning loss to Banks in the Oregon Class 4A playoffs Wednesday as the Pioneers fell to the Braves, 4-3.

Mac-Hi coach Nicole Christian said the Braves were tough to prepare for because they had three strong pitchers.

"We played these guys earlier in the spring," Christian said. "We saw two of the three and then they did throw the third (pitcher)."

Nevertheless, the Pioneers had their chances, loading the bases twice without scoring runs, but they couldn't crack the game open.

"We put the pressure on them all day long," Christian said. "We hit the ball really well. We had opportunities to score but we just couldn't punch through."

Mac-Hi entered the seventh inning with a 2-1 deficit and its season on the line. After two quick outs, the Braves' Marla Gooding gave up two walks and a single to load the bases. Cheyenne Kessler battled to a full count before picking up a walk to push in the tieing run and send the game into extra innings.

Neither team scored again until the 11th inning.

Thanks to the international tie-breaker rule implemented in the 10th inning, each team started with runners at second.

Haley Freske took advantage for Mac-Hi with a lead-off single to score Kaitlin Erm but the Pioneers were limited to just the one run.

Banks' leadoff batter in the bottom of the inning, Madison Soper, reached base on an error to put runners at the corners for the Braves. Aubrey Rue hit the game-winning line drive to right field to score both runs.

Mac-Hi graduates five seniors: Kalyn Odman, Freske, Erika Griffith, Erm and Jolene Brannon.

"It was a great year, Christian said. "The seniors are going to be hard to replace. On the mound and in the field, they were really important for us."

Freske and Erm will be playing for Walla Walla Community College in the fall, while Odman will play for Columbia Basin College.

The Pioneers end the season at 15-10.

Banks 4, Mac-Hi 3

Mac-Hi 000 001 100 01 - 3 9 4

Banks 011 000 000 02 - 4 NA NA

Erm, Robert (4) and Kessler; Gooding, Masters (10) and Rue.

HR - none.

Hits - Carillo 3, Robert 2, Reed 2, Kessler, Freske 2; Banks: K. Van Domelin, Gerlinger, Ching 2, Soper, Rue, H. Van Domelin.

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