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The White Buffalos took the first game and then the Rangers repaid the favor, so the teams are still tied for third place.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Madras senior Ethan Graeme collides with an Estacada player as he slides safely into third base during the Buffs' 7-6 loss to the Rangers in the nightcap of their doubleheader on May 2 at Madras High School.

Monday could have been a day for one team to take full control of the third and final Tri-Valley playoff spot going into the home stretch.

Instead, after all the dust had settled from the May 2 doubleheader between Madras and Estacada, neither team ended up making any kind of definitive statement. The teams came into the day tied in the standings — and they left the diamond the same way.

The White Buffalos won the first game 2-1 with some late-game luck in the bottom of the sixth that included two Estacada players colliding while going after a foul ball and, on the very next pitch, a misfired throw from the Ranger shortstop that proved too hot to handle for the first baseman. The result was that Ethan Graeme reached first on his hard-hit ball, while Dru Boyle crossed the plate for the game-winning run.

Before that, Game 1 was a defensive battle that featured another strong showing from Ayden Holcomb, who pitched all seven innings and held the Rangers to just one run on two hits coming off of last week's no-hitter against Molalla.

After the win, Madras head coach Jerry Shaw said he was pleased with the Buffs' performance but also knew a tough Game 2 awaited the team.

In Game 2, the Buffs went up 3-1 in the second inning on Cael White's two-RBI single and a fielder's choice RBI from Boyle. Unfortunately, the Buffs would commit errors to start each of the next two frames, both of which led to big innings on senior Reece White's tab as starting pitcher.

Madras trailed 7-3 going into the sixth inning, but they were able to cut into the lead thanks to some more sloppy late-game play from the Rangers.

After Cael White was hit by a pitch, Tyler Clarkson scored on a wild pitch. Holcomb reached by error on the next play, scoring Carter Dunten. Then, Graeme knocked in White with an RBI single. When a strike-two pitch to Conner Flu went by the catcher, Holcomb tried to steal home to tie the game — but he was called out to end the rally as Estacada held on for a 7-6 win.

As a result, the two teams remained tied for third place in the Tri-Valley Conference. Based on the OSAA computer rankings as of Monday night, No. 17 Madras would be the third team in from the TVC, while No. 18 Estacada would be in the playoff field as an at-large.

There is still much to be settled on the diamond, though, as the Tri-Valley season enters its final two weeks, where every team meets for a third and final time.


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