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First-inning doubles by Lexi Geary and Sammie Pemberton put Barlow in charge early

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Barlows Alexa Bailey rounds third base on her way to scoring the Bruins first run of the game in Mondays 3-0 playoff win over Bend.

First-round playoff

Team Score
Barlow Bruins
Bend Lava Bears

Barlow grabbed the lead early and never looked back to beat Bend 3-0 in the first round of the 6A softball playoffs Monday.

The Bruins got back-to-back doubles, both to the right-field gap, by Lexi Geary and Sammie Pemberton to open a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

Visiting Bend would never catch up.

"Grabbing the lead kept us motivated for the entire game," Geary said.

Bend tried to get back in it when Lena Zahniser sent a double to the center-field fence, but Barlow's Emily Virell caught a pop-up near first base to bring the second inning to a close.

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Barlows Lexi Geary winds up for a pitch during her shutout effort against Bend in the first round.

Barlow added an insurance run in the fifth when Geary knocked another double into the outfield grass. Next up was Pemberton, who laid down a bunt that crawled about 10 feet down the third-base line. Pinch-runner Chloe Hilsenteger arrived safely at third base, and Pemberton reached without a throw.

But the play was far from done.

Pemberton rounded first with her arms flailing through the air.

"My job is to get all eyes on me, so I keep stepping out and try to play with their minds," Pemberton said. "Once they are focused on my movement, they forget about that runner at third."

Bend seemed to know what was up, but could not resist going after the out.

"I'm just waiting for them to go after Sammie," Hilsenteger said. "Once the infielder turned her head, I went for it."

Sure enough, she scored in plenty of time to make it 3-0 for the Bruins, and Pemberton ended the play at second base.

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Barlows Emily Virell gets into defensive position at first base.

Bend went down in order in the seventh with Pemberton running in from her shortstop position to catch a pop-up behind the pitcher's circle. Geary battled back from behind in the count 3-0 to strike out the next batter, and Savannah Darling tracked down a catch near the right-field line to end the game.

Barlow dropped a 2-1 decision at Roseburg in Wednesday's second round. The Indians pushed across runs in each of the first two innings before Alexa Bailey doubled to score Sydney Brown to put Barlow on the scoreboard in the sixth.

Roseburg pitcher Mady Blevins retired the Bruins in order five times, while Barlow's Geary struck out five and allowed three hits.

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This story is slated for our Friday, May 24, print edition.

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