Madras softball falls to Crook County as local rivalry heats up
The latest chapter in the sports rivalry between Crook County and Madras was written on Wednesday, April 6, as the Cowgirl softball team rocked the Lady Buffs 14-0 in five innings on the road.
It was a result that came against the recent tide. Crook County entered the day having lost two straight, while Madras had won three of four games going into Wednesday's contest. The Cowgirl offense jumped on the White Buffalos' pitching early, though, and the home team was unable to find any footing to mount a comeback.
"Offensively, we just didn't make adjustments and generate hits," said Madras head coach Shawna McConnell. "We needed baserunners, and we didn't produce. "
Hope King was in the circle to start the game for the Buffs, and despite recording an average of 10 strikeouts per outing over her last four appearances, the Madras junior never got into a rhythm against Crook County. King surrendered 10 hits to 10 outs recorded — three of which were strikeouts — and walked seven more. A handful of errors on the Madras side didn't help the cause.
"This is the first game Hope has struggled," noted McConnell, "but when pitching the majority of innings this preseason, sometimes fatigue happens. And with errors behind her — and pitching to a very small strike zone — it can be frustrating. But she battled and kept her cool against those odds."
Madras was not completely without some bright spots, though. Ashley Camas recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the fourth inning after taking the ball from King — who led off the home half of the first inning with a hard-hit single. A few moments later, Camas took after King's example at the plate and helped her own cause by leading off the bottom of the fifth with Madras' second hit of the game.
Junior third baseman Natalie Lockey made a few heads-up plays on defense at the hot corner, too, and executed a perfect bunt in the first inning — one which became a sacrifice thanks to a stellar scoop and throw from Crook County's own third baseman, Tylee Cossitt.
"I think we need to start batting better and getting some good hits," said Lockey, who was 2-for-4 with an inside-the-park home run against Caldera less than 24 hours before the Crook County game.
Unfortunately for Madras, no such offensive fireworks were on display against their rival.
"These girls really can do a lot if they start to believe in themselves and fight against adversity," said McConnell. "We need to keep working on situations and find our confidence. We coaches believe in this team. They can do great things. We just need to find some leadership and become more disciplined."
This will be the only meeting between the two schools on the softball diamond this season, but the Madras-Prineville rivalry will be renewed in earnest starting in the next academic year. Crook County is dropping down to Class 4A and joining Madras in the Tri-Valley Conference, along with The Dalles.
Both Villastrigo and Lockey will be there when the teams play their first league game next year — and both are looking forward to the rematch.
"I think it's something we should look forward to," said Villastrigo of the regional rivalry resuming next season. "I think we're capable of beating them again."
Of course, Lockey has some different feelings about that. She says Madras will be hungry for revenge.
"I think we'll keep a good game with them," said Lockey, who noted that the young Buffs will be bringing more experience to go along with their raw talent next season.
Madras opens its latest Tri-Valley campaign next week, hosting Corbett on Monday, April 11, before traveling to face the Cardinals on Wednesday, April 13. First pitch in all three games is at 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 6
Crook County 14, Madras 0
at Madras High School
CCHS — 3 4 2 5 0 X X — 14
MHS — 0 0 0 0 0 X X — 0
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