Makenna Reid leads Tigard to state title win over Oregon City
Tigard pitcher Makenna Reid wouldn't be denied.
The Tigers pitcher allowed just three hits while striking out a state championship game record 21 batters en route to leading her team to the school's first ever state softball championship, defeating Oregon City 1-0 in 10 innings Tuesday night, June 7, at Jane Sanders Stadium in Eugene.
"It just meant a lot," Reid said. "I put a lot into this game. We did a practice before this and I just wanted to win, to be honest. I'm just glad we came out on top."
Reid and Pioneers ace Lily Riley allowed just six combined hits in the game while striking out 35, but in the end it was Tigard catcher Karen Spadafora who delivered the game-winning hit, a single to left field that scored her Tigers teammate Nozomi Akin in the bottom of the 10th inning.
"Put it in play," Spadafora said about her game-winning hit. "I was just thinking, I just got to get something done. This is the moment. We have to end it right here."
The hit and subsequent win came on the heels of Reid pitching her way out of a jam.
In softball, rules state that in the 10th inning and beyond each half-inning starts with a runner on second base. Oregon City did just that to start the 10th and had runners on second and third with just a single out after Riley reached on a bunt single and pinch-runner Lily Castor stole second. But Reid was undeterred, striking out the next two Pioneer batters, securing the scoreless tie, and setting-up what would be Spadafora's game-winning hit.
"I was just thinking, 'hit my spots,'" Reid said. "They weren't really hitting the outside pitch, so I just kept pounding it. To have a runner on second and third and to get out of it, it was amazing."
It was a little less than amazing for Oregon City who also finished second to Tigard in the Three Rivers League regular season standings. But Pioneers head coach MacKenzie Washington remained steadfast in her praise for what her team did and could accomplish in the future.
"We had one senior on the field tonight and these girls were playing on a stage that we've never been on before as a school or anything," Washington said. "They made history just being here, and they'll be back."
Riley—who's just a sophomore—echoed her coach's sentiments regarding her team, speaking to the pride she had in her teammates and their performance not just on this night, but over the course of the season as well.
"We just had a great season," the pitcher said. "That's all I'm thinking about right now is just how proud I am of my team. We really fought for this game. We didn't come out with a win, but I'm just so proud of my team this year and I couldn't play with a better group of girls."
The game was all Reid and Riley early on, as the two aces combined for 16 strikeouts over the game's first three innings.
Neither team had a baserunner until Oregon City's Gina Allen reached on an error in the fourth inning, and the Pioneers put two runners on base in the fifth when a second error coupled with a walk put runners on first and second with one out.
But after Reid battled-out of that jam, Tigard appeared ready to plate the game's first run in the bottom of the fifth when after Kani Korok recorded the game's first hit, Sera Reilly hit a ball to deep left center field that appeared headed to the gap. But Oregon City's center fielder Chloe Grimmer made a running catch near the wall and shortly thereafter doubled-up Korok who failed to touch second base on her way back to first following the catch.
Riley applauded her teammates spectacular catch, but while impressed, she was anything but surprised by a play that the pitcher said the center fielder regularly makes look routine.
"Nothing gets past Chloe Grimmer," Riley said. "I have full trust in her and anytime anything gets hit into the outfield, I know my outfielders have it."
Oregon City again threatened in the seventh when Ally Nordling hit a one-out single to center, but Tigard shortstop Ella Dardis ended the Pioneer threat with a dazzling double-play, leading to what was eventually Spadafora's game-ender in the 10th.
"I knew she was throwing rise balls and curve balls the whole time, and I knew she was going to miss up and he (the umpire) wasn't calling up," Spadafora said. "So, I just had to select the pitch, get my pitch and do what I needed to do."
Reid—who's headed to Florida State on June 12 to begin her academic and athletic career with the Seminoles—said she'll always remember her time at Tigard and with Spadafora fondly.
"It feels weird knowing that we're not going to practice tomorrow and then do a bullpen together," Reid said. "I'm super grateful for her. She's been a great friend, a great teammate, and someone that I can always look up to and play with."
There was no shame in the defeat for Oregon City, and Riley said they knew what they were up against coming into the game.
"We definitely knew it was going to be a fight," Riley said. "We just had to keep fighting, but they came out with the win. But I'm just proud of my team and the way we fought the entire game. All 10 innings."
And Washington was proud of her pitcher, who the coach said found another gear in this year's playoffs.
"She (Riley) found something completely different in this postseason," Washington said. "Our league didn't respect her until we hit playoffs. But she played with a little bit of fire and on a whole new level and showed them what she can do."
In the end, the Tigers were the champs. And while humbled by the outcome, Reid said it was no surprise that she and her teammates were on top in the end.
"To be honest, yes," Reid said when asked if she could've imagined this at the beginning of the season. "I've worked really, really hard. I ran on the treadmill this morning, worked out, I've done everything it takes. So, I believe we belong here."
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