Thursday, June 20, 2024

Pirates tame Tigers to seize command of softball title chase

Tigers vs Dayton

Perennial West Valley power Dayton High gained the inside track to the league’s regular-season softball title Wednesday by turning back a last-inning Taft rally for a 9-7 home victory.

The Class 3A Pirates (17-7, 8-1) regained the state’s top ranking with the two-run victory behind senior starter Ani Heidt, who struck out 10 and walked one against the Tigers (16-8, 8-2).

“We actually played a very tough game on the road in a place where they have a lot of hometown pride and a big fan base,” Taft coach Sandy Stuart said.

Heidt went 3-for-3 with three RBIS, while sophomore catcher Sofia Cicirone was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, Senior shortstop Malina Ray and freshman first baseman Maddie Fluke had two hits each for the Pirates.

Dayton can clinch the league title Thursday with a victory at third-place Amity (11-7, 7-2), which defeated Sheridan 26-5 Wednesday.

“We came from behind and put a lot of runs on the board,” Stuart said. “We scored seven runs on a very good pitcher who has shut out quite a few teams this year. Ultimately, we had a couple of costly errors and couldn’t quite hold on to the game.”

Behind 3-0, Taft scored four runs in the top of the fourth to take the lead, but surrendered two runs in the bottom half of the inning and four in the fifth to trail 9-4 entering the seventh. A three-run rally came up short.

Taft senior third baseman Naomi Rini, senior center fielder Alyssa Tanksley, sophomore catcher Hailee  Danneker and sophomore pitcher Emma Coulter had two hits each for Taft, while Danneker drove in three runs and scored twice.

“The important thing is we know that we can compete with, and beat, one of the top teams in the state,” said Stuart, whose Tigers defeated Dayton 4-2 at home on April 20. “Going in to the playoffs and the State tournament, if we play level-headed and play as a team, we can beat anyone.”

The Tigers conclude the regular season with two games next week – at 3:45 p.m. Monday at home against Yamhill-Carlton (10-12, 7-7 4A Oregon West) and at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at third-ranked Scio (21-2, 9-0 3A PacWest).

Dayton 9, Taft 7

TAFT                 AB  R  H BI
Kyla  Knott           4  1  1  0
Naomi  Rini           4  1  2  0
Hailee  Danneker      4  2  2  3
Emma Coulter          4  1  2  2
Claira Tolan          4  0  0  0
Alyssa  Tanksley      4  1  2  1
Makena Cole           2  0  0  0
McKenzie Evenson     1  0  0  0
Corey VanDamme        3  0  0  1
Kayla Lininger        2  1  1  0
TOTALS               32  7 10  7 

DAYTON               AB  R  H BI
Malina Ray            4  2  2  0
Ani Heidt             3  1  3  3
Catie Jacks           2  1  0  1
Kalina Rojas          4  0  1  2
Emily Elliot          4  0  0  0
Sofia Cicirone        4  2  3  0
Maddie Fluke          3  1  2  0
Jodi Desmet           4  1  1  0
Gabby Shadden         2  1  0  2
TOTALS               30  9 12  8

TAFT                          000 400 3 — 7
DAYTON                     120 240 x — 9

LOB–TAFT 5, DAYTON 8. ERR–Naomi  Rini, Alyssa Tanksley, Maddie Fluke. 2B–Alyssa  Tanksley, Emma Coulter, Sofia Cicirone, Ani Heidt (2). 3B–Hailee  Danneker SACF–Catie Jacks.

TAFT                            IP    H    R   ER   BB   SO   HR
Emma Coulter               6.00   12    9    7    4    6    0
Ani Heidt                      7.00   10    7    6    1   10    0
PB–Sofia Cicirone. WP–Ani Heidt. BB–Kayla Lininger, Maddie Fluke, Ani Heidt, Gabby Shadden, Catie Jacks.

Taft roster/schedule
Class 3A West Valley League standings
Class 3A OSAA rankings


Jim Fossum
Jim Fossum
Homepage Executive Editor and former longtime Sports Editor of the near-200,000 circulation Las Vegas Review-Journal, Fossum brings 40 years of award-winning experience covering virtually every facet of print and digital journalism to Lincoln City Homepage. The former longtime reporter for the Newport News-Times and Lincoln City News Guard is also Editor-in-Chief and Senior Columnist for, which covers the NFL's Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders.


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