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Six-run barrage in sixth lifts Highlanders past Silverton.

Byline: Steve Mims The Register-Guard

It was one of the state's most successful softball programs against a playoff newcomer.

In the end, North Eugene's experience may have been the difference as the Highlanders pounded out 10 hits and took advantage of seven errors to defeat Silverton 9-2 in the second round of the OSAA Class 4A playoffs Monday evening at North Eugene High School.

"We didn't play like we're capable," Silverton coach Ralph Cortez said. "We had jitters and we let the adrenaline flow a bit in the first couple of innings. We played well all year and hoped to give them a good game, but I don't think the score is evident of how the game was played. We threw the ball around a lot."

Silverton was making its first playoff appearance ever while North Eugene is in the postseason for the 11th year in a row. However, the second round had been unlucky for the Highlanders during the past two seasons as they lost to Westview, 7-0, in 2003 and McNary, 15-2, last season.

"Westview was ranked No. 1 and McNary crushed the ball, so it was tough to open with them," North Eugene coach Mike Jodoin said. "I think Silverton is awful good, but we are hitting the ball better than we did the last couple years."

North Eugene led 3-2 entering the bottom of the sixth, then broke the game open with six runs on six hits while Silverton committed three errors in the inning.

Jacque Barton opened the inning with a double and Samantha Alik hit a single, and a throwing error on the play allowed Barton to score while Alik reached third base. Brittany Teller followed with a single that scored Alik to give the Highlanders a 5-2 lead.

Kayla Vance and Ashley Ficek added back-to-back singles to load the bases before Annee McHarry hit a grounder to shortstop Molly Fillion, who made a wild throw home that allowed Teller to score.

Denee Johnson capped the inning with a double that scored all three runners.

"That inning was big, we needed that," Jodoin said. "We've been hitting the ball pretty well and now we're starting to get some baserunners. The whole lineup contributed, which is huge for us."

Johnson was 2-for-4 with two RBIs while Barton was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Ashley Likens was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

Likens threw a two-hitter to earn the victory, and both runs she allowed were unearned.

Likens got the Highlanders on the board in the bottom of the first when her groundout drove in Ficek to open the scoring. Barton doubled to start the second inning and later scored on an error to make it 2-0.

In the fifth inning, McHarry grounded into a fielder's choice and scored when Likens hit a single to right field that was misplayed by Kate Stadeli for a two-base error that gave the Highlanders a 3-0 lead.

Silverton answered with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning.

Likens hit both Cori Simmons and Kayla Thomas with pitches, then Ashley Olson reached base on an error that plated Simmons with one out. Brittany Koenig reached base on another North error that allowed Thomas to score, but Olson was thrown out at third base on the play and Likens struck out Fillion to end the threat.

"We were starting to get to (Likens) and hoping to go from there, but we did not have the consistent hitting you need to put runners on base," Cortez said. "We were threatening to come back and then we let it slip away."

North Eugene will go on the road in the third round to face No. 9 Crater, the No. 1 seed from the Southern Oregon Conference, which defeated Gresham 5-0 on Monday.

McNary 1, South Eugene 0

SALEM - The Axemen took the No. 6-ranked Celtics to eight innings before giving up an unearned run.

Jamee Rauch singled, advanced on a fielder's choice and an overthrow, then scored when an outfielder lost the ball in the sun.

South Eugene, which got a double from pitcher Ellen Ballantine and a single from Chelsea Carnes, had eight baserunners, but none of them advanced beyond second base.

Ballantine pitched a complete game with seven strikeouts and no walks for South Eugene (13-9).

SOFTBALL

STATE PLAYOFFS

Class 4A

Second Round

MONDAY'S RESULTS

Clackamas 1, Canby 0

Barlow 1, North Medford 0

Southridge 13, Hermiston 0 (5 innings)

McNary 1, South Eugene 0 (8 innings)

Crater 5, Gresham 0

North Eugene 9, Silverton 2

Benson 1, West Salem 0

The Dalles-Wahtonka 5, Lake Oswego 2

Roseburg 2, Beaverton 0

Churchill 5, Crescent Valley 1

David Douglas 4, Grant 0

Milwaukie 3, Redmond 0

Sprague 2, Putnam 0

Hood River Valley 4, Lincoln 0

South Medford 2, St. Mary's 0

Jesuit 2, Tualatin 1

Third Round

WEDNESDAY'S GAMES

Barlow at Clackamas

McNary at Southridge

North Eugene at Crater

The Dalles-Wahtonka at Benson

Churchill at Roseburg, 4 p.m.

Milwaukie at David Douglas

Hood River Valley at Sprague

South Medford at Jesuit

CAPTION(S):

North Eugene's Jacque Barton (right) is congratulated by her teammates after scoring in the second inning of their 9-2 playoff victory over Silverton on Monday. Chris Pietsch / The Register-Guard Brittany Teller (left) snags a foul ball as teammate Ashley Ficek comes in to cover during North Eugene's win Monday.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports; North Eugene uses 10 hits and seven Fox errors to advance to the third round of OSAA Class 4A playoffs
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 24, 2005
Words:899
Previous Article:Once more around the track.
Next Article:MORNING BRIEFING.


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