Tigard advances to state semifinal with 5-0 win over Newberg
The Tigard softball team earned another hard-fought victory in this year's state playoffs, defeating Newberg 5-0 Friday evening at home.
As a reward for their victory Tigard will make its first semifinal appearance since 1991 and will face McNary for an opportunity to play for a state championship — something the program has never won.
Tigard standout pitcher Makenna Reid was again dominant, allowing three hits while striking out 17 and walking two. Reid acknowledged the game was intense from the start, but added that she not only enjoys the heightened intensity, but feeds off of it as well.
"I just take it like I don't want to lose a game," Reid said. "I don't want my career to end. We all have a goal in mind, and there's just two more games."
In addition to Reid's work in the circle, Tigard was led by senior third baseman Kani Korok who did the bulk of the team's damage at the plate, finishing 2-for-2 with a walk and four RBI, including a bases loaded double that blew the game open in the fifth inning.
Korok said she respected standout Newberg pitcher Serayah Neiss, but at the same time was comforted by the experience she'd had from facing her in the past.
"I've been facing Serayah for years, so I know what to expect at the plate," Korak said. "So, I think we came in with the anticipation that we were gonna come and hit the ball. And we did."
It took them a bit however, for neither team found a groove until Korok plated Ella Dardis and Nozomi Akin with a two-out single off the outstretched glove of Newberg shortstop Brooklyn Mills to put the home Tigers ahead 2-0 in the third inning.
Newberg appeared poised to respond a half-inning later when catcher Abby Carsley reached on a hit-by-pitch then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Scarlett Olivas. But after Reid walked Mills to put the tying run aboard, the standout pitcher struck out back-to-back Newberg batters, holding the visitors scoreless and maintaining the dominance she'd started three innings prior.
"I think definitely in the beginning of the game it was pretty intense," Reid said. "I thought I threw good. I knew they would come out swinging, so it was definitely good. I thought I didn't have a lot of misses, and I felt good about getting out of jams."
Korak's fifth-inning hit came after Tigard loaded the bases with singles by Dardis and Akin, followed by an intentional walk to Karen Spadafora. With the count 2-2 and Korak already having fouled two balls off, the senior sent the next pitch off the right field wall, plating Dardis and Akin and finishing what she'd started three at-bats and five innings prior.
"I went in with the mentality that I was going to foul anything off until I got a pitch that I knew I could smash, and that's what I did," Korak said.
Tigard's game with McNary is scheduled for 5 p.m. on May 31, at Tigard High School.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.