Crook County softball team edges Redmond in season finale
The Crook County Cowgirls couldn't have found a better way to close out senior night than what happened on Tuesday.
After giving up a big lead, the Cowgirls scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take a 14-13 victory over the visiting Redmond Panthers.
"They never gave up," said Crook County head coach Jeremy Puckett. "They just never gave up. That's been their M-O (modus operandi) all year."
After giving up a pair of runs to the Panthers in the top of the first inning, the Cowgirls settled down, scoring the next nine runs of the game as they rolled out to a 9-2 lead.
Crook County pushed across a run in the bottom of the first as Ashley Owens doubled with two outs in the inning and then scored on a Berkley Puckett double.
Crook County added four runs in the second inning as Caitlyn Elliott and Kalyn Martinez hit back-to-back singles. Olivia Snoke then laid down a perfect bunt to load the bases before Emma Lees blasted a grand slam home run that went just over the right field fence.
The Cowgirls took advantage of Redmond miscues to score four more runs in the bottom half of the third inning.
With one out, Elliott walked before Mikinley Puckett reached base on an error, putting runners on the corners.
A long single to center field from Martinez scored Elliott and moved Puckett to third. She scored later in the inning on a fielder's choice. Another walk and a single by Liz Barker scored two more runs.
Barker then stole second. When the catcher threw the ball to second, Martinez then stole home. Redmond finally got out of the inning when Owens popped out to short.
Leading by seven, it looked like the Cowgirls were going to cruise to an easy win.
However, Redmond battled back.
Redmond scored four runs in the fourth inning on three hits, an error and a walk.
Berkley Puckett came in to relieve Lees in the pitcher's circle to start the fifth inning, and, once again, the Panthers scored four runs, taking a 10-9 lead.
Redmond scored their four runs on a pair of singles, two doubles, a Cowgirl error and two wild pitches.
The Cowgirls loaded the bases with just one out in the bottom half of the inning but managed just one run as Barker walked to score Martinez from third.
Still, that tied the game at 10-10.
Puckett settled down in the sixth inning, walking one runner, but not allowing a hit.
The Cowgirls took the lead again in the bottom half of the sixth as Autumn Coffelt reached base on an error, stole second and third, then went home on a wild pitch.
However, the Panthers answered with three runs of their own in the seventh inning on a single, a sacrifice bunt, two doubles and a wild pitch.
That left the Cowgirls trailing 13-11 heading into the final half inning of play.
Sidney Parker walked to start the inning for the Cowgirls. Snoke then entered the game to run for Parker and immediately went to second in a wild pitch.
Lees then doubled off the center field wall, scoring Snoke and making the score 13-12.
Liz Barker then tried to bunt to move Lees to third but popped the ball up for an easy out.
Owens then singled to left, scoring Lees and tying the score. Owens then stole second before the Panthers intentionally walked Berkley Puckett.
Coffelt then laid down a bunt, and Redmond's third baseman slipped and fell while fielding the ball. She attempted to throw to first while still laying on the ground, but the throw was late, loading the bases.
That brought Elliott to the plate, who laid down another bunt while Owens raced toward home. Owens just beat the throw to the plate, ending the game with the Cowgirls earning a thrilling 14-13 victory.
"I didn't feel any pressure," said Elliott, one of three Cowgirl seniors, of her last plate appearance. "I already knew that I was going to go up there and bunt it. I already knew that it was going to happen. I like these games where you compete. They make you stay on your toes, and there is definitely the drive to win in them."
Fellow senior Martinez, who had three hits in the game, was also excited about the win.
"It was pretty emotional just knowing that it was my last game with this team," she said. "It was pretty important to just lay it out on the field. Your energy is so up, and your adrenaline is going in a game like this. The season was pretty fun, but it's my senior year, so it is really sad. I think we competed really well, even though it didn't show in the record book."
With the win, the Cowgirls finished the year with a 9-17 overall record and a 2-13 league mark, while the Panthers fell to 9-16 overall and 3-12 in league.
The Cowgirls won the game, despite being outhit 16-14 by the Panthers as well as giving up one more error than Redmond.
It was the final game of the season for both teams.
Ridgeview won the league championship, while Hood River Valley and Pendleton, which finished second and third, respectively, also qualified for the state playoffs.
"I thought it was pretty big to end my last season with a win," said Berkley Puckett, the Cowgirls' third senior. "It was a really exciting nail-biting game. It was so awesome. I've been playing this game since I was four, and I'm letting it go now. That was my last game, but it was a great way to end it. Even though we lost a lot this year, I think that this was definitely my favorite season because of all my teammates that I got to play with."
Crook County 14, Redmond 13
Redmond 200 440 3 — 13
Crook County 144 011 3 — 14
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