Tigard advances to state softball final with 6-3 win over McNary
Tigard will play for a state championship after defeating McNary 6-3 in the state softball semifinals Tuesday, May 31, at Tigard High School.
The Tigers blew open the game with a four-run third inning, when while leading 2-1 after three straight two-out hits loaded the bases, Tigard's Hailey White sent a 3-2 pitch off the wall in center field, clearing the bases and putting the home Tigers ahead 5-1.
White's hit came after a controversial foul ball took two Tigard runs off the board and after five straight fouls by the sophomore left fielder, but despite the controversy and the extended battle with standout McNary pitcher Lacey Vasas, White believed, and used that belief to come through when her team needed her most.
"I was just like, 'okay, I've seen multiple pitches, I've just got to pounce on one,'" White said. "I was hyping myself up and just telling myself that I could do it."
Like most contests deep in the softball playoffs, the game was hyped as a pitcher's duel between Vasas and Tigard standout Makenna Reid. And it started that way. But Tigard's Kani Korak opened the scoring with a solo home run to left field in the second, and McNary tied it in the following inning when Ali Martinez scored on an Aspynn Westby single to right field.
The explosive Tigard third inning started with two outs, but after consecutive two-out singles by Ella Dardis and Nozomi Akin, junior outfielder Karen Spadafora broke the 1-1 tie with an RBI single to center field.
The Celtics walked Korok to load the bases, setting up White's big hit and putting what Tigard head coach Pete Kostel said was the Tigers' newfound hitting approach on display. An approach built on patience and a plan.
"We've taken big strides in that the last couple weeks," Kostel said. "We have a way better approach."
Reid—who allowed three runs on six hits while striking out 11—held McNary scoreless over the game's next three innings but allowed a two-run Martinez home run to start the seventh before retiring the next three to end the game. The senior acknowledged she wasn't at her best in the game, in part due to feeling a bit under-the-weather as a result of the heat. But she added that despite being a bit off, she battled and gave her all for the team.
"Definitely today was not my day pitching," Reid said, "but I just pushed through it and even after that home run I was like, 'just three more outs, c'mon, just pitch.'"
Reid is one of eight seniors on the Tigard roster that's been through a lot over the past four years. Kostel said it's been impressive to watch them throughout the trials of the last couple of seasons and added that it's their interest and care for each other that's gotten them where they are today.
"There are about four that have been with the varsity since their freshman year and we've had three or four others that have come through the junior varsity," Kostel said. "The way they care about each other is impressive. This is a special group."
Tigard will face league-foe Oregon City who defeated No. 2-seeded Bend in the other semifinal in Saturday's state final game scheduled for 5 p.m. at Jane Sanders Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. The two teams split two games during the regular season, the second of which Reid didn't pitch.
The senior said she'll be ready for Saturday and said she was sure the Pioneers will be ready as well.
"It just shows how hard the Three Rivers League is," said Reid. "I mean, Three Rivers versus Three Rivers. They're going to battle it out, we're going to battle it out."
Meanwhile, this day was about the win—the last one for Reid and her fellow seniors.
"I definitely wanted it," Reid said. "This was our last game for the seniors on this field, so it was about coming out, throwing my hardest and just leaving it all out there."
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