Mac-Hi catcher Cheyenne Kessler (right) blocks the plate as Braves runner JoJo Wren slides in attempting to score a run during the Class 4A championship game Saturday at the Oregon State University softball complex. Wren didn’t score on the play, but Banks won the game 1-0.
Jay Rodighiero photo
CORVALLIS — Banks repeated in more than one way Saturday at Oregon State University’s softball complex.
The Braves ended McLoughlin High School’s playoff run with a 1-0 loss for the second consecutive season and won its second straight Class 4A championship in the process.
Braves senior pitcher Kaylin VanDomelen, a University of North Dakota commit, turned in a one-hitter, outdueling Mac-Hi’s Colette Robert, who had a no-no going until giving up a hit and the lone run on an error in the fifth inning.
“We both pitched really well and played good defense,” Mca-Hi coach Nicole Christian said. “Both teams made one error. Unfortunately, we made our error with a Banks runner in scoring position.”
Braves freshman shortstop Makenna Partain ended Robert’s no-hitter with a double to lead off the fifth.
After Robert struck out the next batter, Molly Hammond hit a comebacker to Robert that she sailed over the outstretched glove of first baseman Makayla Kelly, allowing Partain to score on the play.
“I would have really loved not to make that error,” Robert said. “But I’m really proud of the girls and how we’ve done this year. We did it — we made it the farthest that you can go, the state final.”
The Braves’ error came in the bottom of the fifth with the bases empty and one out when Nicole Hendley reached base on a throwing error. Hendley advanced to second on the play.
It was the second chance Mac-Hi had at scoring on the day, but the Pioneers couldn’t get a clutch hit to score Hendley.
Mac-Hi had runners on first and second base in the first inning after Megan Reed singled, but VanDomelen struck out Cheyenne Kessler to end the inning.
“We just couldn’t get that timely hit today,” Christian said. “We had some chances, hit some balls hard and right at people other innings too.”
Robert struck out six, gave up four hits and walked none.
VanDomelen was more dominant, however, striking out 11, walking none and allowing just three base runners on a hit-by-pitch, a single and an error.
“She is definitely one to beat,” Robert said of her counterpart. “I came in really wanting to beat her bad because she is so good.”
VanDomelen kept the Mac-Hi batters off balance all day.
“She is really good and has a lot of movement,” Pioneers catcher Kessler said. “A lot of the pitches tailed off the plate and we ended up chasing it or letting it go — which was a struggle.”
“Kaylin VanDomelen was the best pitcher that we’ve seen all year,” Christian said. “Really, the two best pitchers were in the circle today. One on each team.”
The Pioneers will lose nine seniors to graduation this spring — nine seniors who have been a part of four state playoff runs.
“We’ve had a lot of good times and memories,” Christian said. “These girls have been a part of the program for four years now. So it is going to be hard to replace all nine of them. Whether it is hitting or on defense, it is going to be difficult.”
“We worked so hard to get here,” said Kessler, one of the departing seniors, “and it is nice to get second. It is good, but we really wanted to be first.”
Mac-Hi won’t be losing everybody, however. The Pioneers get Robert, a sophomore, for two more seasons.
“We’ll be back,” Robert said. “I’m confident.”
Banks 1, Mac-Hi 0
Banks 000 010 0 — 1 4 1
Mac-Hi 000 000 0 — 0 1 1
K. VanDomelen and Soper. Robert and Kessler.
Hits — Banks: Chung, Partain, Soper, Bunn. Mac-Hi : Reed.