Buffs undefeated in league
It didn't seem to matter which Madras softball player stepped into the batter's box Monday afternoon; if they saw a pitch worth swinging at, chances are they were connecting, and in many cases, getting on base.
The White Buffalos swept through a home doubleheader against Tri-Valley Conference opponent Molalla, taking game one 8-3 and the finale 20-11, to open TVC play with a 2-0 mark and 6-3 overall record.
The two teams were originally scheduled to play a home and away series Friday and Monday, but Friday's game at Molalla was canceled due to inclement weather.
In game one, Madras scored eight runs on an efficient six hits, which included junior Lizzie Steuart blasting a home run behind the fence that reached the nearby JV softball field.
But the second game was more of an offensive shootout, which Madras made one-sided through the first few innings, before Molalla trimmed its deficit to three runs in the fifth inning. That was as close as Molalla would get for the remainder of the game. All nine Madras starters recorded a hit, and seven of them had at least one RBI.
The Lady Buffs loaded the bases quickly in the top of the first inning when their first three batters — Niyallee Cochran, Delaney Vibbert and Steuart — reached base.
That allowed clean-up hitter Arysta Pineda to execute a sacrifice fly, scoring Cochran from third, and Jiana Smith-Francis cleared the bases on the next at bat with a two-run triple. Genesis Quiroz then scored Smith-Francis on a sac fly of her own, allowing the Buffs to gain a 4-0 advantage.
A scoreless bottom half of the inning paved the way for Madras to pick up where it left off, and it did just that in the top of the second.
Cheydon Herkshan led off the inning with a double to deep center field, and Hannah Holliday's single allowed Herkshan to reach third. Then, Vibbert, who finished a perfect six for six at the plate with four RBIs, cleared the bases again with a two-run single. Additional RBIs from Pineda and Quiroz made the score 8-0 in favor of the Buffs.
Molalla's bats woke up in the bottom of of the inning, as the Indians put up four runs on consecutive RBI singles, then scored another run, but the baserunner was caught in between second and third and tagged out to end the inning.
With Molalla trailing 8-4 in the bottom of the fourth, its first batter singled, but Madras halted momentum quickly when Pineda made a back-handed catch on a line drive in the infield, then ran to second base and completed the double play as the baserunner attempted to tag back. Two batters later, Smith-Francis recorded her fourth strikeout to end the inning.
In the fifth, Madras threatened to halt the game early when it batted around the order and scored five additional runs to go up 13-4.
Vibbert kicked off the scoring run with an RBI, and reached third base when Molalla's attempted throw out at first base went awry, and the ball rolled into the outfield. Steuart then sent Vibbert home on an RBI single.
With runners at second and third, a Molalla pitch from Analiz Wickham got behind catcher Emily Gates, which allowed Pineda to score. Then Quiroz added another RBI, this time to score pinch runner Jalaney Suppah from third. Molalla outed the following two Madras batters.
Momentum shifted in a hurry during the bottom of the fifth. Molalla got its first two runners on base, before Makaylah Kluken blasted a two-run double.
Madras made a pitching change with the score at 13-7, as Steuart replaced Smith-Francis in the circle. Molalla added three more runs, two of them coming from a two-RBI triple, and a pop up single that dropped in a gap between first and second base.
At 13-10, Molalla had managed to make the game interesting, but just as quickly as the run started, Madras squashed the Indians' comeback attempt in the top of the sixth inning, when the Buffs added six more insurance runs. From there, they were able to hold Molalla to one run in the following two innings and hold on for a comfortable victory.
The Buffs' league tilt rolls on when they face Estacada twice this week, first on the road Wednesday before returning home Friday. Both contests are slated to start at 4:30 p.m.