Lady Buffalos back on track; win three in a row
The Madras softball team came back as strong as ever last week, after losing their first two league games the previous week — back-to-back games against Gladstone and Molalla.
The Lady Buffs showed no lack of confidence, 10-running Molalla once and Estacada twice last week.
Madras hosted Molalla April 22, and took care of business during their 12-1, five-inning victory.
Molalla scored one run in the top of the first inning, but the Lady Buffs responded with six runs in the bottom of the first.
The Buffs scored one run in both the second and third innings and took care of business, scoring four runs in the fourth inning.
Madras held the Indians scoreless in the fifth inning to secure their victory.
The Buffs recorded 11 hits as a team and were led by several players, who had big at-bats.
Jiana Smith-Francis went 2-for-3 with two home runs and four RBIs. Freshman Marilyn Tom ended the game 2-for-2 with two RBI doubles and sophomore Hannah Holliday was 3-for-3 at the plate with an RBI double. Lizzie Steuart went 2-for-3 with a double, while Delaney Vibbert ended the day 2-for-3.
Steuart pitched a great game for Madras, striking out six batters, while allowing only four hits and one run.
"Our defense played great," head coach Shawna McConnell said. "We had a couple errors (2), but they were not costly. Lizzie (Steuart) is pitching amazing. She is really throwing hard and trusting the defense to make heads-up plays."
"Offensively, we chipped away, starting in the first inning," she said. "Our lineup is solid and the entire team is hitting really well, with over a .400 team batting average. It was really nice to get the win over Molalla after Friday's (April 19) loss to them. They have their fire and intensity back."
Riding through Rangers
They Lady Buffs also hosted the Estacada Rangers April 24, and had very consistent innings at the plate for a 10-0 victory.
Madras set the tone for the game early, scoring four runs in the first inning of play. They scored one run in the second inning and had another big inning in the third, scoring three runs and taking an 8-0 lead.
The Buffs ended the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring the final two runs they needed.
Tom led the Lady Buffs at the plate, going 2-for-2 with three RBIs. Smith-Francis went 2-for-4 with two RBI singles, while Niyallee Cochran was 1-for-3 batting.
Steuart pitched all five innings, recording five strikeouts, and allowing only four hits.
"There wasn't really any big innings offensively, like we've seen in the past, but as a team they chipped away with singles," coach McConnell said. "I am really proud of the way we're playing and have great team chemistry. This is such an amazing group of ladies and the coaching staff is always being complimented by fans and other teams about what a class act they are."
Madras traveled to Estacada April 26, and had very similar results as their first matchup with the Buffs, earning a 10-0 victory in six innings of play.
The Lady Buffs scored two runs in the first inning of play, but were held scoreless in the second inning.
Madras stepped things up in the third and fourth innings, scoring a combined seven runs, taking a 9-0 lead.
The Buffalos couldn't finish the game in the fifth inning, but took care of business in the top of the sixth, scoring one run for the 10-0 victory.
Steuart and Smith-Francis both pitched three innings for Madras, recording four strikeouts, while allowing seven hits.
Smith-Francis ended the game 3-for-4 with two RBI singles, while Tom went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI single and an RBI double. Cochran went 2-for-3 batting and Mary Olney was 2-for-4 in the batter's box. Aspen Holcomb hit a two-RBI double for the Lady Buffs.
"We didn't have any crazy scoring innings in this game either, but as a team were able to get things done offensively," said McConnell. "We played great defensively with Ashanti Quintana and Hannah Holliday having some great heads-up plays at the plate. The pitchers were great with zero walks collectively, which is huge this late in the season."
The Lady Buffs (13-4 overall, 8-2 league play) have their toughest games to date coming up as they travel to North Marion (7-3 league play) to take on the Huskies at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 1.
Madras and Gladstone are both tied at 8-2 in the Tri-Valley conference as of the morning of April 29. They are 1-1 against each other this season and the Lady Buffs host the Gladiators at 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 3.
They also travel to Molalla April 7, finishing the series with the Indians.
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