Scappoose softball still in Cowapa battle with Banks
Things worked out almost perfectly on Tuesday for the Scappoose softball team.
In the circle, senior left-hander Nicole Dougherty came within one pitch of a perfect game.
At the plate, senior shortstop Hannah Galey hit a Seaside pitch perfectly, driving it well over the fence in left field.
Elsewhere, other Indians did their part, too, as the team scored in four of the six innings and beat the visiting Seagulls 10-0 for the second game in a row.
The following day, it was more of the same for the Indians, as they won at home, 11-0 over Astoria in six innings.
It marked Scappoose's eighth consecutive victory and added to their momentum going into Friday's critical Cowapa League showdown against rival Banks.
The 5 p.m. Friday game at Banks is likely to determine the league champion. The teams split their two previous meetings, each winning by two runs at home.
"It always seems to come down to Scappoose and Banks," Galey said. "It's been that way the last four years."
Going into Friday's regular-season rubber match, Scappoose was 10-1 in the Cowapa, 18-3 overall and ranked eighth in Class 4A by the Oregon School Activities Assocation. Banks was 10-1 in league, 15-4 for the season and ranked No. 10 in 4A.
Scappoose coach Nicole Feakin said she just hopes that the Indians "come out and play Scappoose ball, real strong, the way the girls know how and just have a day."
The Seaside game on Tuesday was indicative of how the Indians have been playing of late. They've outscored their last eight foes 121-15.
"I think we're doing really good. We're hitting the ball," said Galey, who boosted her RBI total to 37.
The Indians stranded two runners in their first at-bat on Tuesday. But junior second baseman Anna Mills laced a two-run triple in the second inning, then scored on a grounder by junior left fielder Taylor Johnson. That gave Scappoose a 3-0 lead and all the support that Dougherty needed.
"Sara getting those runs in was really big for us to get our momentum going," Galey said.
Dougherty finished the six-inning complete game with 10 strikeouts, no walks and one hit batter (with one out in the fifth inning). A curveball refused to obey and nicked a Seaside batter on her front elbow.
The batter hit was fifth in the Seaside order. It was a 1-1 pitch.
"My curveball is a new pitch so it doesn't always work right. And it probably wasn't the best situation to throw that in. But live and learn," Dougherty said.
Four days earlier, Dougherty also pitched against Seaside, striking out 10 while giving up two hits but no runs in seven innings.
She said the possible perfect game wasn't on her mind Tuesday, nor was the no-hitter. The win and shutout were good enough by themselves.
"A shutout's a shutout," Dougherty said. "I try to avoid thinking about those things because it stresses me out. I just try to rely on my teammates backing me up, put my trust in them. A perfect game is a team effort, no matter how you look at it."
The Indians' offense was good, although not lethal on Tuesday. Scappoose didn't capitalize on all of its chances, but the home team got two hits each from Johnson, senior third baseman Hadley Enos and junior center fielder Payton Fisher.
And, of course, there was Galey, the University of Oregon-bound leader.
"On Friday, I didn't hit well against (Seaside senior pitcher Jetta Ideue) so I wanted to come out today and hit well," Galey said.
Seaside hardly gave her anything to hit, walking her twice. But when she led off the Scappoose third, Galey got a tasty fastball on the first pitch and took full advantage.
"I knew she was throwing a lot of pitches down the middle in the beginning of the count," Galey said, "so my game plan was to swing at the first pitch and I did."
The ball came off her bat with authority.
"Hannah is incredible, amazing. I was not at all surprised that she sailed one," Dougherty said. "For her, those are a dime a dozen."
The home run was No. 8 for Galey in what has been a short season for her. She didn't play until the team's trip to Redmond the last week of March. Galey, who hit a school-record 14 homers last season, needed some extra time to mend from surgery on the ulnar nerve in her right elbow.
"I've had elbow problems for four or five years, but it got really bad about two years ago and last summer, to the point where I could not throw," Galey said. "So I went to a couple of specialists and they said it was the ulnar nerve. And when they went in they found there was a muscle over the nerve, constricting it, so they took that out."
She is literally getting back into the swing of things.
"It was very hard for me to sit on the bench," she said. "But now I think I'm back into my routine and how I know I can play."
Galey was OK with the surgery because "I know it's getting me ready for college ball. It doesn't hurt as much when I throw."