Pioneers gut Gladstone in semis, move on to title game

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GLADSTONE, Ore. — It was hard to say what was more impressive here Tuesday afternoon for the McLoughlin High School softball team in the Oregon Class 4A state semifinals.

On one hand, the Pioneers were potent at the plate with eight hits, including a pair of home runs. On the other, Mac-Hi pitcher Colette Robert turned in seven strong innings, yielding just one hit in a 6-0 shutout victory over the No. 1-ranked Gladstone Gladiators.

“Colette and our catcher, Cheyenne Kessler, studied scouting reports on each Gladstone hitter,” Mac-Hi coach Nicole Christian said. “They knew who to pitch inside and who to pitch outside, and who to pitch around.”

“And we had a good game plan offensively going in. We didn’t swing at anything out of the zone. And when the Gladstone pitchers put it in the strike zone, we got the big hits and picked up the runners.”

Gladstone only hit three balls out of the infield in the game. One of those was a bloop single by Gladstone catcher Ashlee Muller, another was a routine fly-ball out and the third was turned into an out on a diving catch by Brittany Kralman.

The Mac-Hi offense was good for two runs in the first inning, one in the third and three in the sixth.

The Pioneers opened scoring in the top of the first when leadoff hitter Kariss Carrillo walked, Karli Cortez bunted her to second base and Robert slammed a shot to dead center for a two-run home run.

The Pioneers upped their advantage to 3-0 in the third when Robert singled and shortstop Megan Reed doubled her home.

Mac-Hi then solidified the victory with a three-run rally in the sixth.

Cortez opened the frame with a single and was bunted to second by Robert. Reed followed with a single. With runners on first and third, Kessler hit a three-run homer to left-center field.

Robert, Reed and Kessler collected two hits each in the game. Cortez and Nicole Hendley added one hit apiece.

Mac-Hi hiked its season record to 24-6 going into Saturday’s state championship game against Banks at Oregon State University’s softball complex in Corvallis. Game time is 10 a.m.

Banks won its 24th consecutive game and improved its overall record to 28-2 in Tuesday’s other state semifinal with a 1-0 victory over Newport in 10 innings.

“Hopefully, we can get the first state title for Mac-Hi softball in its history,” Christian said.

Mac-Hi 6, Gladstone 0

Mac-Hi 201 003 0 — 6 8 1

Gladstone 000 000 0 — 0 1 1

Robert and Kessler; Dudley, Kirchem (6) and Muller.

HR — Mac-Hi: Robert, Kessler.

Hits — Mac-Hi: Cortez, Robert 2, Reed 2, Kessler 2, Hendley; Gladstone: Muller.

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