Glencoe's season ends with loss to upset-minded Tigers
Sure, ratings and rankings can be important.
But there are some things that just might be even more important.
Such as, playing with a lot of energy, getting some clutch hits and, of course, getting a pitching performance like the one turned in by Tigard senior Ashley Davis.
The Tigard softball team, behind its energy, timely hits and Davis' pitching, came up with what, at least on paper, could be considered an upset, as it powered its way to a 3-0 win over Glencoe in a Class 6A state playoff second-round game played Wednesday, May 23, at Glencoe High School.
"Ashley Davis is one of the best pitchers in the state and she kept us off balance most of the night," said Glencoe head coach Jason Eastman. "She hit all her spots and made it really difficult on us."
With the victory, Tigard, the No. 2 team out of the Three Rivers League and the No. 11 team in the final OSAA power rankings, improved to 24-4 on the season. The Tide finished their season 23-5 and a game shy of the quarterfinals, where they lost to North Medford last season.
"It's a huge win," said Tigard sophomore catcher Emily Paulson, who drove in the first run of the game. "We've been practicing so hard, and this means a lot to us, because we've become so cohesive."
Glencoe — which won a share of the Metro League title — had much to be proud of despite the loss, as Eastman noted.
"It wasn't the outcome this group of girls wanted to have on this field's last game," said Eastman regarding Glencoe's final game before they renovate the facility and move the field to a new location. "So many amazing student athletes have left their sweat, blood and tears on that dirt field that the girls wanted to give our alumni a victory. Sadly, it didn't work out."
"We've had ups and downs, but I think we had games where we really played together as a team, and we all realized that we're all sisters, and we wanted to stay," said Glencoe freshman second baseman Dana Butterfield, who made two spectacular defensive plays — a diving snag of a line drive in the top of the third inning and a diving stop on a grounder in the top of the sixth — while also hitting a double in the second-round contest. "We had great fun. We always remembered to have fun."
The Tide, like Tigard, was looking to keep its season going. And Glencoe, again like the Tigers, boasted a standout senior pitcher in Izzy Womack.
But on this day, it would have been hard for anyone to top Davis' performance. In seven innings of work, Davis gave up five hits, while striking out 11 and walking one.
"I wanted this game," Davis said. "I play with a lot of those girls, and I was really excited about it. This was a great game."
"Ashley looked amazing," Paulson said. "She was hitting all her spots and working all of her pitches."
Davis and Womack both looked strong in the early innings, but the Tigers were able to break through and get a key run in the top of the third inning.
Junior Lexi Klum got things going in the inning with a one-out bad-hop single to center field. Klum the moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Hoover. Paulson then hit a hard ground ball which looked to be a sure base hit to the left side. Glencoe junior shortstop Morgan DeBord made a backhand stop of the ball deep in the hole toward third base, but Paulson beat DeBord's throw to first. The speedy Klum came all the way around to score on the play, giving Tigard a 1-0 lead.
"It felt so good, and to get that first run up there gave us some confidence," Paulson said. "I was little in front of it, but I knew I could punch it through the 5-6 hole, because there was a pretty good gap. I knew I had to get down the line really fast, because Morgan, their shortstop, is really quick."
Glencoe threatened in the bottom of the fourth inning, when junior Jensen Becker drew a one-out walk and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Womack, and again in the fifth, when Butterfield hit a one-out double. But both times, Davis was able to pitch out of the jam.
The Tigers then got a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning. Junior Elli Dardis going things started with a leadoff single to left. Following a fielder's choice grounder by freshman Sophia VanderSommen, Tiger sophomore Abby Soderquist singled to center field. A sacrifice bunt by senior Caroline Riggs put runners on second and third with two outs. Glencoe then decided to intentionally put on Klum, loading the bases with two outs.
Madison Hoover made Glencoe pay for that strategy, as she followed with a single to center field, driving in both VanderSommen and Soderquist, upping the lead to 3-0.
"I've been put in this situation before, against Tualatin, and I was like, 'OK, just stay focused and get a base hit, and get the runners in,' and that's what I did," Hoover said. "I was really excited, and the dugout was really excited, too, and that makes the energy so much better."
Glencoe, still battling, got singles from senior Taylor Butterfield and sophomore Alivia Eastman to lead off the bottom of the seventh. But that didn't seem to bother the Tigers.
"Not a worry," Davis said. "I trust (the Tigard fielders) and they trust me. We really had each other today."
With the potential tying run at the plate, Davis got a popout, with Hoover making a leaping catch, and back-to-back strikeouts to end the game and start Tigard's victory celebration.
Hoover went 2-for-3 at the plate in the win, with a pair of RBIs. Paulson went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Klum had a hit and a run scored. Dardis, VanderSommen and Soderquist had the other Tigard hits.
Dana Butterfield, the defensive star of the game for Glencoe, remarked, "We made a little hashtag. We said 'play to stay together.' We knew, win or lose, this could be one of the last games on this dirt field, so we were putting everything out there on the field today, and that's what I did. I wanted to stop every ball, and I wanted to stay. And it took every single person fighting all game."
Coach Eastman is proud of his girls' work both on and off the field. The team boasts a collective 3.66 GPA and contributed beyond the diamond, raising nearly $500 for Gracie Williams, a local child in the midst of a battle with cancer. Now, with the 2018 season in the rearview mirror, the Tide look to next year with a number of returning standouts competing in the new Pacific Conference.
"We are thankful for the competition that we had in the Metro the last four years," said Eastman, "but are excited and looking forward to the move into the Pacific Conference."
Alivia Eastman went 2-for-3 at the plate for the Crimson Tide. DeBord, Taylor Butterfield and Dana Butterfield had one hit apiece.