Prep Roundup, May 3-6: Madras softball gets an important road win
As the spring sports season begins to wrap up, the high school teams in Madras and Culver have had a flurry of activity in the past few days. Here are some of the highlights from this week so far, including updates on the baseball, softball and tennis teams from around Jefferson County.
Madras softball beats Corbett to stay in second
As the Madras softball team looks to lock up a playoff spot in the coming days, the White Buffalos did themselves a big favor by beating Corbett 9-6 on the road on Wednesday, May 4.
"Excellent battle," wrote Madras head coach Shawna McConnell after the game, noting that Wednesday's outing was exactly the type of game that the White Buffalos needed as they enter the homestretch of the Tri-Valley playoff race. "Still holding on to second place. They play like this every game, we'll end strong and have a playoff spot."
Madras jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first two innings, giving senior starting pitcher Marilyn Tom a nice cushion to work with. Tom pitched three innings in total, being replaced by junior Hope King in the fourth after getting tagged for three runs. King gave up three more of her own over the final four innings of work, and the pair combined for four total strikeouts in the game. Corbett brought the game within a run at 6-5 after scoring in the third and fourth innings, but Madras responded with three runs in the top of the fifth to put the game out of reach for good.
While Corbett's bats were able to find 11 hits off Tom and King, the Madras defense was mostly stout against the Cardinals. After racking up seven errors in the team's 20-5 loss to Estacada two days earlier, the Buffs committed just two on Wednesday. Head coach Shawna McConnell noted that Natalie Lockey, the team's junior shortstop, made a diving stop and connected with second baseman Rylan Davis for a quick out, while both Hailey Cochran and Lily Moses had impressive catches in the outfield.
Offensively, Lockey had the best day with three hits, including a pair of RBI singles. Tom went 2-for-4 with two RBI base hits, while Moses was 2-for-3 with an RBI single of her own. Valerie Alonso had a 3-for-4 day at the plate with a double, Davis was 2-for-3 with a bunt single and Ashley Camas had an RBI single for her only hit of the day. Cochran, King, Alia Martinez and Toya Perez rounded out the hit parade, each picking up a single against the Cardinals.
Rain forced the cancelation of Madras' home doubleheader with Corbett on Friday, May 6. Those games — which will be crucial in the Tri-Valley playoff race, as Madras, Corbett and Gladstone all vie for second place behind Estacada — have yet to be rescheduled.
Madras baseball lays a beating on Corbett
The Madras baseball team completed its season sweep of winless Corbett, soundly defeating the Cardinals 27-1 on the road on Wednesday, May 4.
Ethan Graeme, the Buffs' senior third baseman, led the offensive charge with Madras' first home run of the season — a three-run shot in the first inning that put the team up 5-0 and set the tone for a big day at the plate. Graeme also had a two-run double and drove in another run via groundout, giving him a total of six RBIs on the day. Dru Boyle racked up five RBIs of his own on a 3-for-6 day, and fellow junior Conner Flu went 3-for-5 with four RBIs. Other White Buffalo batters to collect multiple hits included Jackson Hertel (3-for-5, 2 RBIs), Ayden Holcomb (4-for-6, RBI), Noah Vibbert (3-for-4, RBI) and TJ Stout (3-for-5, RBI). Rarely-used reserve Tommy Walker also got some playing time and recorded his first hit of the year, an RBI single in the fifth inning.
While the offensive output gave the Madras pitching staff plenty of breathing room, the Buffs still went out and mostly shut down the Cardinal batters. Stout, a senior, started the game and hurled four innings for the Buffs. He struck out four while allowing just two hits and a walk, with one runner scoring on him. In the fifth inning, Hertel took the mound for the first time this year. The promising freshman struggled a bit with control, hitting two Corbett batters, but he struck out two other Cardinals and forced a groundout to end the game unscathed.
The following day, Thursday, May 5, the Buffs' scheduled road trip to face North Marion was canceled due to weather. That game has not been rescheduled as of yet. As it stands, Madras will finish its regular season next week with a trip to Gladstone on Monday, May 9, followed by a home game against Molalla on Wednesday, May 11. Perhaps the biggest game of the season will come in the finale on the road against Estacada next Thursday, May 12. The Buffs and Rangers could be fighting for the third and final automatic playoff spot out of the Tri-Valley Conference. As of Friday, May 6, Madras had a one-game lead over Estacada in the standings, and the teams split their first two games in Madras on Monday, May 2.
Culver baseball completes Sheridan sweep
The Culver baseball team took two big steps closer to the state playoffs on Thursday, May 5, completing its sweep of winless Sheridan with a pair of 15-1 victories during a home doubleheader.
Culver freshman Houston Wittenburg took the mound for the first game, pitching all five innings. Wittenburg held the Spartans to just three hits and one run while striking out five batters on his way to the win. Logan Macy had three hits, three RBIs and three runs, continuing a strong run of form at the plate as the Bulldogs' clean-up hitter. In fact, all four players at the top of the Culver batting order finished with multiple hits, as Brayden Macy, Braeden Chapman and Gabe Wilson all collected two hits on the day. Wilson tied Logan Macy for the team lead with three RBI, while freshman Jace Silbernagel added two more of his own while recording one hit and two walks. Malachi Lamm entered the game as a pinch hitter and grabbed just his second hit of the season, coming around to score later in the inning.
In the second game, it was more of the same for Culver. Thanks to strong outings from Logan Macy and Braeden Chapman on the mount, the Bulldogs registered their second no-hitter of the series against Sheridan, following Wilson's no-no just two days earlier. Macy struck out nine over four innings of work, while walking three and allowing no hits, and Chapman pitched a perfect frame to close out the five-inning win. Those two led the charge at the plate, too, with each collecting three hits. Both Macy brothers had two RBIs in the second game, and both Wilson and Silbernagel finished with multiple hits. Like Lamm in the first game, Preston Madison got some rare playing time for Culver in Game 2 and grabbed his second hit of the season.
With the Sheridan series out of the way, Culver now prepares for a three-game series with league leader Kennedy, the No. 1 team in the 2A/1A classification. The Trojans are 18-2 overall this season and 13-1 in league play, boasting the top offense and the top defense in the classification. The first game will take place in Mt. Angel on Monday, May 9, with the second game being played in Culver on Tuesday, May 10. Then the teams are back at Kennedy for the series finale on Thursday, May 12. Culver may add one more game at the end of the year, as a postponed contest with Colton from April 19 has not yet been rescheduled.
Late surge gives Culver softball a win
With the season winding down and every game taking on massive importance, the Culver softball team pulled out a critical 11-4 win over Sheridan on Tuesday, May 3.
Trailing 3-2 going into the top of the seventh inning, Culver hung up nine runs in the final frame against Sheridan. The Bulldogs collected nine of their 13 total hits in that inning, starting with a leadoff triple from junior pitcher Hensley Wachter. Dakota Tanori tied the game up by knocking Wachter in with a one-out single to right field, and Shanti Rosales subsequently stole home on the next pitch to give Culver a 4-3 lead. Brylah Quamme, the Bulldogs' lone senior, hit a single of her own to drive in Tanori. Four more Bulldog runs came on steals of home, with Quamme, Wachter, Jorja Nelson and Micaela Taylor all crossing the plate safely. Rosales and Josie Worley also added RBI doubles late in the inning to further pad the team's newfound lead.
After allowing two baserunners to start the bottom of the seventh and allowing one run to score, Wachter eventually dialed in from the circle to finish the game. She rang up the final two Sheridan batters with strikeouts, pushing her total on the day to 11. Wachter allowed five hits and five walks, and she hit two more batters, but the Bulldogs' late offensive surge was more than enough to cover the four Sheridan runs that went on Wachter's tab.
Culver improved to 7-7 overall with the win, and the Bulldogs still sit in fourth place in the league with a record of 5-6. The Bulldogs' next scheduled game is at home against Jefferson on Tuesday, May 10.
Madras tennis wraps up regular season
The Madras boys and girls tennis teams wrapped up their regular seasons on Thursday, May 5, with matches against Stayton. The boys traveled to face the Eagles on the road, splitting their matches evenly at 4-4. The White Buffalo girls hosted Stayton, meanwhile, and fell 5-3 at home.
Madras senior Riley Adair won his fourth consecutive match, defeating Ethan Wilson 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in a three-setter that could earn Adair a top-four seed at next week's district tournament. Adair finished the season with a district record of 5-3, and the Buffs' No. 1 singles player could find his way back to the state tournament after qualifying last year as a doubles player. Fellow senior Leo Olivera made it three in a row for himself, defeating Jason Ritchie 6-1, 6-1 in the No. 2 singles spot, while No. 3 player Dereck Salgado made quick work of Stayton's Spencer Dirkx in a 6-1, 6-0 romp. The other Madras victory came in the No. 2 doubles match, where Toni Hernandez and Cruz Fisher defeated Garrett Buechner and Thaddeus Kaeb 6-2, 6-1.
Back home in the girls' matches, Madras took two of four in doubles action but struggled to find success in singles. A pair of seniors, Christina Thomas and Karman Sangha, scored a 6-2, 6-4 win over Rori Bentz and Suzie Cox as the Buffs' No. 2 doubles team. In the No. 4 doubles match, sophomores Heidi Sedano and Idaly Romero defeated Avery Mannix and Kaley Larsen 6-0, 6-2. The only singles win for Madras came from Yashira Chavero in the No. 4 position. Chavero outlasted Kadence Kuiken in a 7-5, 2-6, 10-7 three-set victory.
With the regular season done, Madras now prepares for the 4A/3A/2A/1A Special District 2 tournament that begins on Monday, May 9. Madras will host the first round of the girls tournament, while Estacada will host the boys on Day 1. Then, later rounds for both the boys and the girls will continue at Salem Tennis & Swim on Thursday and Friday, May 12-13.
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