OREGON – The Newman Comets took advantage of their opportunities early on during Tuesday’s 2A Oregon Regional semifinal. But the Winnebago Indians made the most of their chances late, and left Oregon Park West with an upset.
The Indians scored six runs in the top of the sixth to erase a three-run deficit and seize control, and went on to a 9-5 victory over the top-seeded Comets.
“Today just wasn’t our day,” Newman coach JD Waldschmidt said. “We had a lot of hard-hit balls that, as we would say in our dugout, found the defense’s glove, just basically hit right at them. But that’s why you play the games, I guess.”
Newman (14-11) did seem to be snakebit, especially junior shortstop Madison Craft. She hit three rocket line drives, but one was right at the third baseman and the other two were right at the shortstop. Trinity Martinez, Hailey Frank, Jenna Johnson and Lauren Wilson also hit smashes that were tracked down for outs.
“Defensively, we talk about anticipating that next play, and we really put it together today,” Winnebago coach Annie Getschel said.
“We caught a couple of line drives, we made plays on ground balls. We knew they were going to hit the ball, so we knew we had to come out and make some plays today, and we did that.”
Wilson did have one hard-hit ball that landed – on the far side of the fence in right-center – for a two-run home run to open the scoring in the bottom of the second inning; she hit her high fly ball right after Johnson smoked a ball back up the middle for a single. It was her third straight game with a homer.
“I hustled all the way to second [base], then I slowed down when I looked at the third-base coach and he told me it was a home run,” Wilson said. “We all hit really well, hit the ball hard, so that’s not a letdown; we just hit it right at them a lot.”
That same duo then ripped back-to-back singles to open the fourth, with Johnson scoring on a throwing error on Mattea Bianchi’s grounder to third. Wilson then crossed the plate again on Kate Bonnell’s short grounder toward third base. As the Winnebago third baseman looked toward first base after fielding the ball, Wilson ran a few steps down the line toward home; the third baseman ended up throwing the ball to third, presumably in an attempt to get Wilson in a rundown, and Wilson took off toward the plate and scored easily.
But Winnebago (9-12) answered in the sixth. After a leadoff single, there was a lengthy delay as Waldschmidt questioned whether the Indians had batted out of order. After play resumed. it was all ‘Bago.
Another single and a fielding error led to the first run, then Alyssa Thompson hit a grounder to third. The throw came home and the tag was late as the Indians pulled within 4-3, then leadoff hitter Bella Intravaia ripped a two-run single off the glove of a diving Craft at shortstop for a 5-4 ‘Bago lead.
“That felt like the real breakthrough moment,” Intravaia said. “We have such good chemistry, and we’re always helping our teammates and keeping our heads up. That’s big in games like this.”
That was the end for Newman starter Frank. Elle Koerner relieved, and after getting the second out, Addy Provi hit a high pop fly behind second base. Three Comets converged on it, but if dropped in between them for two more runs.
“We wasted some chances early in the game,” said Getschel, referring to Bago making four outs on the basepaths in the first five innings, “but when we got runners on base late in the game, we got them around and in when we needed to.”
Bago tacked on two more in the seventh on an RBI double by Olivia McDuff and a sacrifice fly by Cameryn Cox, although it looked like the runner at third left early and was already three or four steps off the base when the ball was caught.
“Our communication was bad in that [sixth] inning, and it was hard to come back from that,” Wilson said, “especially after they scored again in the seventh.”
Newman did manage to score an unearned run when Bonnell singled with one out, went to second ingroundout, and crossed the plate on a two-out error in the bottom of the sixth, but couldn’t muster anything more.
Amanda Casey got the win for the Indians, allowing five runs (three earned) and eight hits, with a strikeout and two walks in a complete game. Frank (5-8) took the loss, allowing seven runs (five earned) and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, with two strikeouts, two walks and a hit batter.
“That was a tough-luck loss for Hailey,” Waldschmidt said. “With the exception of the third game of the year, against Riverdale, that’s the best five innings I’ve seen Hailey throw from start to finish. She threw hard, she threw well, and she hit her spots. She was pretty pumped up; normally I take her out after 4 [innings], and she came to me and said, ‘I’m still good,’ and when a player comes to me with that confidence, it’s difficult to take her out. Our defense just let her down, I’ll be honest; outs have to be outs, and you can’t give teams extra chances in the postseason. We talked [Monday] about not making somebody’s season, and we just did; we made Winnebago’s season, knocking off the No. 1 seed.
“The hardest thing for me is losing these seniors. They’ve busted their tail for 4 years, but today was a day when it didn’t go our way.”
2A Oregon Regional semifinal
Winnebago 9, Newman 5
Star of the game: Bella Intravaia, Winnebago, 2-for-5, 2 runs, go-ahead 2-run single in 6th
Key performers: Lauren Wilson, Newman, 2-for-4, 20-run HR, 2 runs; Jenna Johnson, Newman, 2-for-4, 2 runs; Kate Bonnell, Newman 2-for-3, RBI, run; Addy Provi, Winnebago, 2-run single, RBI groundout; Olivia McDuff & Alyssa Thompson, Winnebago, both 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 run