ATHENA — A year later, and a little sweet revenge, for the Weston-McEwen TigerScots softball team over the Echo/Stanfield Cougars in 2A/1A, Special District 5 action.
Last year, W-M lost in the play-in game at Echo, leaving runners stranded in a close game in the final inning.
This year, the TigerScots plated two runs in the bottom of the seventh to win in walk-off style, 4-3.
“A year’s difference is that we had the key hits when we needed it and last year we didn’t,” W-M coach Jeff Griggs said.
W-M prevailed over the Cougars here Tuesday evening in a loser-out, winner-to-district Saturday in Echo.
Weston-McEwen pitcher Molly von Borstel went the distance in the circle and got the game-tying hit and RBI in the seventh.
The TigerScots started the seventh with two groundouts before drama ensued.
Catcher Taryn Coffman was down to her last strike and last out for her team. She managed to slap-bunt a single to get the rally started, and then stole second base.
Next, von Borstel slammed a high, towering shot to deep-center field. The blast went inches over running Cougar center fielder Sterling Braithwaite’s outreached glove and dropped for the RBI double to score Coffman and tie the game at three apiece.
Von Borstel’s RBI double also was with two outs and two strikes.
“We had two batters with two outs and two strikes,” Griggs said. “Both of them managed to get the job done. What can I say? The team is amazing.”
After von Borstel’s hit, Jessica Lambert was due up with the chance to win the game before extra innings would occur.
Lambert, who previously had a tough day at the plate with two strikeouts and a pop-out, unleashed her frustrations and hit a screaming line drive right past the Cougar third basemen, Lesley Ibarra, into left field and allow von Borstel to score from second for the game-winning run.
The game didn’t start out quite as well for the TigerScots.
Echo/Stanfield scored two runs in the first inning and a run in the third to take the 3-0 lead. The highlights of those rallies were RBI singles by Megan Bailey and Braithwaite in the first. The Cougars also scored courtesy of a TigerScot error at first base on the catch off an infield grounder in the third inning.
Von Borstel struggled a little early, but then buckled down late in the circle, not allowing any runs and only two hits in her final four innings of work.
“Molly (von Borstel) grew stronger as the game went on,” Griggs said. “She was more determined and that is what you want from your kids. You want them to be mentally tough and not fold when things get hard. She stood in there and kept throwing all game long.”
Von Borstel’s counterpart in the circle was the Cougars’ Bailey, who pitched the complete game, struck out four and walked one.
“Stanfield’s Megan (Bailey), I give her credit,” Griggs said. “She kept us off balance for four or five innings before we touched her up much. She threw well and her team made early good contact up at the plate.”
The TigerScots were able to scratch out a couple runs in the middle of the game, before the late-game rally.
In the third inning, J’Shon Thompson knocked a double to the left-field gap and Natalie Arnold reached on a misplayed hard-hit grounder at shortstop that tailed into left field and allowed Thompson to score and it was 3-1, visitors, after three innings.
W-M also scored a single run in the sixth inning. With one out, Keegan Shepard smacked an infield single back up the middle to the shortstop, and Shepard beat the throw to the bag.
Taylor Entze followed with a sacrifice bunt that moved Shepard to second base. Isabelle Dillow then came up with a clutch, two-out RBI single to left field to bring the TigerScots closer, at 3-2, going into the seventh.
W-M plays in the district tournament playoffs in Echo Saturday against Irrigon, time TBA, in a loser-out affair. The winner of that game advances to state either as the No. 1 or 2 seed. The winner plays Heppner, the regular season Special District 5 champions, for the district championship and the top seed to state.
Weston-McEwen 4, Echo/Stanfield 3
Echo/Stan 201 000 0 — 3 8 2
W-M 001 001 2 — 4 8 1
Bailey and Parks. von Borstel and Coffman.
Hits — E/S: Neasham, Parks, Bailey 2, Braithwaite 3, Shockman. W-M: Arnold, Coffman 2, von Borstel, Lambert, Shepard, Dillow, Thompson.