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Rangers battle well against No. 2 Cascade Friday evening, May 27, in an historic season capper.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Senior Emilee Ramirez-Bardell plays final game for Rangers after a 7-4 loss in the state quarterfinals.  When the dust settled, folks around the region were saying something that has never before been uttered: "Rangers softball is a powerhouse."

In their final game of the season, in the second round of the OSAA 4A State Championships, Estacada went toe-to-toe with the No. 2 team in the state. And through the first four innings, they had Cascade sweating.

"We scrapped really well," said Coach Mike Clark. "We were going up against a team with nine seniors who are all well-seasoned."

After falling behind 4-0 Friday evening, May 27, Estacada was able to knot it up in the bottom of the sixth.

"They got key hits and scored, and then in the top of the seventh we had runners on and just didn't come through," Clark said.

In the end Estacada softball lost 7-4 on the road in the state quarterfinals on the road. And though the team was disappointed in the final result, their coach made sure to put it all in perspective.

"I told them you cannot be disappointed — we had a great season and accomplished a lot," he said.

That may be an understatement, as Estacada strung together a historic year filled with firsts. They swept Tri-Valley powerhouse Gladstone; won the district title; and won their first-ever playoff game.

Much of that success was thanks to a quartet of talented seniors. Emilee Ramirez-Bardell, Katey Carpentier, Krystina Us-Zapata and Isabella Us-Zapata were the glue that kept the Rangers together and changed the culture.

Against the Cougars, both Ramirez-Bardell and Isabella Us-Zapata performed well, playing catcher and pitcher, respectively.

"Isabella pitched her heart out again tonight, and Emilee didn't let any balls past her," Clark said.

Now all eyes are on the future of the Estacada program, which will look to build on this success and become a perennial powerhouse.

"These girls learned how to win big games after never experiencing that playoffs atmosphere," Clark said. "I am proud of this team."

"Now we want to make the state championship game," he added.

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