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After quarantine breaks the season, Madras finishes by winning two of final three, including a win on senior night

LON AUSTIN  - Marilyn Tom slides into base durng the Buffalos' 14-7 win over Molalla on senior night, May 12. The Madras White Buffalo softball team came back from a 10-day COVID quarantine to win two out of three games last week, wrapping up a winning season, and third place in the Tri-Valley Conference.

After two weeks without practice, the White Buffalos were able to practice Monday and Tuesday, before playing Molalla at home on Wednesday and finishing the year with a doubleheader at Estacada on Thursday.

Wednesday was senior night for the White Buffalos, who got off to something of a slow start.

Molalla scored a run in the first inning to take the early lead. The White Buffalos finally got their bats going as they scored three runs in the third. Molalla came back to score three runs in the fourth to retake the lead.

The Buffs added a run of their own in the bottom half of the fourth to tie the game at 4-4. However, Molalla came storming back with three more runs in the fifth to regain the lead.

Madras fans didn't have to wait long for the White Buffalos to retake the lead, as the team exploded for nine runs in the bottom half of the fifth to take control, en route to the 14-7 victory.

"We played pretty solid defense and then had a great fifth inning on offense to break away from Molalla, with more fireworks from Valerie Alonso's bat," Madras head coach Shawna McConnell said. "It was an awesome team effort for our senior night. Everyone on the team saw at least a little action on the field, which is always fun."

Alonso had a ground rule double in the third inning, then hit a grand slam home run in the fifth as the White Buffalos pulled away.

"I feel like it gets really exciting because it feels like you did something for the team," Alonso said of her hitting. "Getting a win on senior night was extremely big because I wanted to make the seniors proud."

Kathryce Danzuka and Hope King both pitched in the game, and McConnell was pleased with their performance.

"They did a great job in the circle, not walking anyone and striking out 10 between them," she said.

Delaney Vibbert went 3-3 in the game, while Jayden Davis was 3-5, and Alonso went 2-4 with five RBIs.

Thursday against Estacada, the Buffalos got off to a great start in game one, but could not maintain the momentum as they fell 17-11. However, Madras came storming back to take the nightcap 4-2 to cap off a successful season as they finished the year with a 7-4 record.

Once again, Vibbert had a solid day at the plate, going 3-5 in game one with a double, and going 1-4 in game two. Davis went 2-5 in the first game, then went 2-3 in game two with a three-run homerun. Alonso had two hits between the pair of games, Hannah Holliday went 2-4 in game one with a double, while Natalie Lockey went 2-4 in game two, also with a double.

" It was a very offensive game from both teams," McConnell said of game one of the doubleheader. "We just happened to beat ourselves in this game. We had nine errors and some timely hits by Estacada were definitely a factor. We coaches have told the girls that they have yet to be beaten by another team. We tend to beat ourselves. But, this was the first of a long day and we definitely got out of our defensive funk for game two."

McConnell added that game two was possibly the best defensive game the team has played all year.

"It was a perfect way to end the season," she said. "It was a fun game, not quite as offensive as we normally show, but quick and clean."

Davis had a three-run home run while Lockey added a double in the contest.

"Our seniors are big role models for the team," Alonso said. "They set everything for the team. They are team leaders and I just want to show them I appreciate them."

McConnell said that the team owes a lot to this year's six seniors, who all contributed to the successful season in different ways.

Vibbert finished the year with a .433 batting average, while Davis was nearly as good at the plate, hitting .419.

"Vibbert has amazing leadership skills and is super positive," McConnell said. "She helps the younger players leads by example, works hard and is very accountable. I can see her ending up a great coach one day."

Davis is also a great player, McConnell added.

"She is super athletic, quick and a versatile player," McConnell said. "She is consistent in her play and is one of the best bunters I've coached. She has a great sense of humor and is a really good teammate."

The remaining four seniors may not have hit the ball as well as Vibbert and Davis, but still made significant contributions to the team.

"Holliday is one of the most positive and accountable players I've coached and an excellent leader," McConnell said of her catcher. "It was like having another coach on the field. I will miss the way she leads and takes charge of her team. She is leaving some large shoes to fill."

McConnell also had kind words to say about the remaining three seniors.

"Harlee David is a super fun kid to have in the program," she said. "She's funny, loud, hard working, strong and I'm going to miss her laugh. And, Fiona White brings some very intelligent conversations to the team and keeps us caring about the work and each other. She is an excellent teammate and a hard worker. Danzuka is such a kind soul. She's good natured, plays with ease and handles adversity well. She puts her teammates at ease with her constant smile. Even through the mask we can see it. They are all going to be missed."

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