The Wolves fall to South Medford in playoff opener

by: DAN BROOD - TURNING TWO -- Tualatin junior first baseman Sarah Kailiuli looks to make a throw to first base after fielding a bunt pop-up in Monday's state playoff game.TUALATIN — As the game rolled on, and on, and on, and on, a couple things became apparent.

First, to win, someone was going to have to come through with the right play at the right time, and one team which played its heart out was going to see its season come to a close.

Unfortunately for the Tualatin High School softball team, it was South Medford that came through with the key plays, and the Timberwolves were the team that saw their season end.

After 10 scoreless innings, South Medford was able to break through in the 11th inning to get a 5-1 win over the Wolves in a Class 6A state playoff softball game played Monday at Tualatin High School.

“We’re disappointed, but we played well,” Tualatin junior pitcher Emily Sorem said after the game. “They got the opportunities. “The softball gods weren’t with us today.”

“We played hard,” Tualatin coach Jenna Wilson said. “But it just didn’t end up going our way.”

“We didn’t play a bad game,” Tualatin sophomore Hannah Self said. “We played hard the whole way.”

South Medford, the No. 4 team out of Special District 1, improved to 11-13 on the season with the win. The Panthers also advanced to play at Roseburg Wednesday in a state playoff second-round game.

“They’re very underrated,” Sorem said of South Medford. “Their pitched was very good and their defense was awesome, but we battled with them.”

Tualatin, the Pacific Conference champion, finished its season with a final overall record of 20-7.

“We came out and accomplished something that we haven’t done in years,” Tualatin sophomore outfielder Tanna Baggenstos said of the Wolves’ first conference championship in four years. “Winning league was good.”

“We came together as a team,” Self said.

by: DAN BROOD - SOPHOMORE SMACK -- Tualatin sophomore Tanna Baggenstos hits a line-drive single to left field in the eighth inning of Monday's state playoff game.“It was a good season,” Wilson said. “We’ll take that league championship. And we were looking to develop character, and the girls showed that.”

Monday’s state playoff game quickly became a pitchers’ duel between Sorem and South Medford freshman left-hander Pat Moore.

Sorem didn’t give up a hit until Panther senior Brittany Miller hit a two-out single in the top of the sixth inning. Meanwhile, the Wolves didn’t get their first hit off Moore until Self singled to center field with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning.

It was in that frame where Tualatin had its best chance to break through and end the game.

Baggenstos followed Self’s hit with a line-drive single to left field, with Self moving to second base on the hit. Sophomore Caitlyn Sung then reached first base on a fielder’s choice bunt, with Self safely getting back to third base while being chased by South Medford catcher Tia Garrett.

That loaded the bases with just one out, but Moore coaxed a pair of infield pop-ups to get out of the jam unscathed.

Miller singled to left field to open the top of the ninth inning, but Baggenstos threw her out trying to stretch the hit into a double, with Tualatin senior second baseman Beth Fanger making the tag.

Both teams went down in order in the 10th inning, keeping the game scoreless going into the 11th frame. That’s when the Panthers were able to break through.

Junior Krista Williams, starting the inning at second base under the international tie-breaker, moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt by Moore. Williams then beat a throw to the plate on a squeeze bunt by Miller, giving South Medford a 1-0 lead.

The Panthers then got consecutive singles from junior Rachael Moore, Garrett and junior Hannah Newman, producing two more runs. Senior Sara Gartian then plated two more runs for the Panthers with her push bunt through a hole on the right side of the infield, giving South Medford a 5-0 lead.

Tualatin tried to battle back in its half of the 11th.

by: DAN BROOD - STRIKEOUT PITCHER -- Tualatin junior Emily Sorem struck out 17 South Medford batters in 11 innings in Monday's state playoff game.Fanger hit a one-out single to left field, moving Baggenstos, who started the frame on second base, to third. Baggenstos then scored on a sacrifice fly by junior Joslyn Gastiaburu to make the score 5-1. But Pat Moore ended the game with a strikeout, wrapping up the Panthers’ 5-1 victory.

“I think this will make us hungrier next year,” Sorem said.

For the game, Sorem allowed eight hits while striking out 17 in her 11 innings of work.

Tualatin got three hits — one each by Self, Baggenstos and Fanger — off Moore, who struck out 14 batters.

The loss marked the final high school game for the Wolves’ two seniors, Fanger and Katy Maleta.

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