Madras hangs with Bend, Mountain View
For a team short on experience, Madras softball kept stride with a pair of top-10 ranked 5A teams from a year ago in Bend and Mountain View.
The Buffs' inexperience showed in key moments of both games, leaving them without a win in their opening week, but they had a fair share of bright spots, too.
Such was the case in an eventual 12-9 defeat to Bend on March 14. The battle began when Madras chalked up three runs in the first inning, compared to Bend's four.
Mary Olney led the Lady Buffs with four RBIs and three hits. Also chipping in RBI singles were Arysta Pineda, Lizzie Steuart, Cheydon Herkshan, Jiana Smith-Francis and Delaney Vibbert.
Facing a 10-4 deficit, Madras made things interesting in the sixth inning when it scored five runs and brought the deficit to within one.
Bend then added two runs to its lead in the bottom half of the inning, and was able to make the hits that mattered most. Madras had a chance to do further damage, but left a total of nine runners on base during the game.
"(We) played clean defense with no technical errors, but Bend scored on some situations, which we allowed due to inexperience, and they had some timely hits," Madras head coach Shawna McConnell said. "We hit well off both pitchers, but without some timely hits."
Although Madras scored in each of the first four innings at Mountain View on March 16, the team struggled at the plate more so than the Bend game, McConnell said. Mountain View's Kayla Berg threw a complete game in the circle with 10 strikeouts, and threw a nasty rise ball that the Buffs couldn't lay off.
Madras had another strong defensive effort, however, as McConnell noted the play of center fielder Niyallee Cochran, third baseman Jalaney Suppah, catcher Genesis Quiroz and Vibbert in the middle infield.
Steuart threw seven strikeouts, and save for a three-run second inning, held Mountain View in check.
The Buffs will play four games in two days at the Redmond Spring Break Invitational, which runs March 26-27.