The post-season is upon us and both the Taft High School baseball and softball teams are right in the thick of it.
The two teams closed out regular season play with a pair of twinbill matchups with Clatskanie May 10 on the road. The baseball team faced an opponent they had already dismantled earlier in the season with a 17-0 rout back in April. The doubleheader last Friday also seemed to follow that trend as Taft picked up a clean sweep.
In game one, Taft took a 10-2 victory on the strength of a complete game pitching performance from Eli DeMello. In seven innings of work, DeMello struck out six, walking just two and allowing only one earned run.
DeMello also contributed offensively with three hits and was backed by Cody Knott (four hits, two RBI’s), Lucas Hindman (three hits, two RBI’s) and Kadan Hindman (two RBI’s, two runs scored).
Game two was more of the same for Taft, cruising to an 11-1 victory after racking up 13 total hits as a team. Taft’s Bleiz Kimbrough got the win on the mound after throwing just over four innings with three strikeouts and having one earned run. Teammate Tyee Fisher came in to relieve Kimbrough and racked up three strikeouts of his own in just over an inning of work.
At the plate, it was Trenton Fisher who led the way with three hits, two RBI’s and two runs scored. DeMello and Fco Ramos also had multiple hits in the contest and Knott had two RBI’s with three runs scored.
Taft will now meet up with Clatskanie for the fourth time this season May 16, with a league playoff game with the winner advancing to state next week. The home game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.
Unlike the baseball team, the Taft softball team faced a much tougher task last week as they squared off against the No. 1 ranked and undefeated Clatskanie Lady Tigers. Earlier in the year Taft played Clatskanie tough at home and lost a 7-2 decision.
In the first game of the doubleheader, Taft had ace pitcher Emma Coulter in the circle as she pitched a complete game, striking out three and walking only four batters. However, Clatskanie showed their offensive prowess in the game by smacking two homeruns en route to an 8-1 victory.
Taft batters also had a tough time dealing with Clatskanie’s ace and top pitcher in the state as she allowed just three hits. Among those to get hits were Coulter, Hailee Danneker and Kyla Knott.
Game two was a much more competitive contest. Clatskanie jumped out to an early 5-0 lead going into the top of the fourth inning, but Taft’s Claira Tolan was able to score on an RBI single from Lily Hatton, cutting the lead to four. Clatskanie answered with a run in the bottom of the inning and it looked like the home team was going to cruise to a 6-1 victory.
However, in the top of the seventh, Taft drew a pair of walks with one out and then Danneker hit into a fielder’s choice, making it a four run game once again. A Clatskanie error scored Danneker and Addie Gates making it a 6-4 game. But the two-out rally was cut short Clatskanie recorded its third out on a fly ball to center field.
Taft gave the number one team a scare thanks in large part to the work of Hatton in the circle. Hatton pitched a complete game, striking out three and allowing just six hits. Olivia Coulter had two hits in the contest and Danneker and Hatton each had an RBI.
Taft now faces Warrenton, a team they’ve swept this year, for a chance at an automatic qualifying spot in state. Barring a loss, Taft will still have a chance at an at-large bid into the state tournament due to their high ranking. Their playoff game is set to begin at 5 p.m. May 16.