5A softball: Putnam knocks Crater from playoffs, 8-2
Putnam pitcher Sarah Abramson enjoyed working with a lead Wednesday afternoon.
The Kingsmen scored three runs in the first inning and Abramson took care of the rest, firing a two-hitter with two walks and 14 strikeouts to help lift Putnam to an 8-2 home win over Crater in the opening round of the OSAA Class 5A softball playoffs.
Madison Mayer went 3-for-4 with an RBI-single, and Sierra Russell-McCollum added two hits with a two-run single as the Kingsmen (17-11) advanced to Friday's quarterfinals against Eugene's Marist Catholic.
"I'm super-excited," Abramson said. "The road only gets tougher from here, but I think if we play like we did today, we have a really good shot to advance."
This marks the fourth season in a row that the Kingsmen have reached the quarterfinals, but the first under coach Samantha Frost, who was named to take over the program three months before the start of the season.
"The girls are excited and I think we're ready," Frost said. "The girls came ready to play today. I could see it from the first pitch to the last."
The Kingsmen sent nine batters to the plate in the first inning and scored three runs on four hits, one walk, and one Crater error.
Melia Croydon hit a ground out to first base that pushed Tyler Creash home from third with the game's first run. Russell-McCollum followed with a single that scored Mikayla Schweinsberg and Madison Mayer, giving Putnam a 3-0 lead.
Putnam added three runs in the fourth inning, two runs scoring on an error by the Crater left-fielder and the other coming home of Mayer's RBI-single that made it 6-0.
In the fifth, the Kingsmen extended the lead to 8-0 when Mikaela Nall and Grace Vadelund scored on an error by the Comets' center fielder.
Crater's struggles in the field were compounded by the Comets' inability to generate much of an offense against Abramson, who faced three batters over the minimum through the first five innings.
"I knew coming into this that Crater had really good hitters, because they see really good pitching all year long in their league, so they weren't going to be surprised by speed," Abramson said. "I knew I was going to have to spin the ball well and hit my spots just to get them to roll over and ground out and fly out."
Obviously, the run support helped.
"Oh, 100 percent," she said. "When you're pitching and your offense gives you a little cushion, that's always super-nice, because you're not trying to be perfect. You still have to make sure the other team isn't scoring, but it definitely takes a lot of the pressure off."
Abramson took a one-hit shutout into the sixth when Grace Hilton reached on an error and Hannah Joseph followed with a two-out, two-run homer to straightaway center.
"It was a 3-2 pitch," Abramson said. "I think I let a rise ball get away from me, and it hung over the middle and she hit it really well. I was like, 'Wow, that was impressive.'"
In the seventh, Abramson walked Alaina Winningham with one out and then retired the next two batters on infield pop-ups to end the game.