Sunday, October 17, 2021

Tigers advance to State softball quarterfinals with 11-1 rout of Vale

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Taft’s Emma Coulter fires home during Wednesday’s State playoff game (Photo by Justin Werner)

Saying, “it’s easier to pitch with all those runs,” Taft High ace Emma Coulter relied on a prodigious offense and her own robust right arm Wednesday to propel the Tigers into the quarterfinals of the Class 3A OSAA State Softball Championships.

“Our bats came alive right in the beginning, so that was really good for us,” Taft’s junior starter said after the host Tigers eliminated Vale from the 16-team tournament 11-1 in an opening-round game shortened to five innings by the state’s 10-run mercy rule.

Addie Gates drills one down the third base line (Photo by Lon French)

The Tigers scored twice in the first, four runs in the fourth and five in the fifth to close out the win. Freshman Addie Gates and sophomore Kayla Lininger had three hits each for Taft, while Linginer had four RBIs and Gates three. Coulter drove home three runs.

“Today was excellent,” Taft coach Sandy Stuart said. “The girls came out pumped up. They were high energy and cheering the entire time and you could tell they wanted it.”

Lon French Photos

Sixth-seeded Taft will meet No. 3 seed Cascade Christian (21-7, 10-2 Far West) Friday in the quarterfinals at a time to be determined at US Cellular Community Park Field in Medford. Cascade Christian downed No. 14 Blanchet Catholic (11-12, 5-3 PacWest) 6-4 Wednesday to advance.

“It was a little nerve-racking at the beginning, but we all came together and shook off the nerves and played an awesome game,” Lininger said.

Battery mate and first-team All-State catcher Hailee Danneker said Coulter, a second-team All-State selection, was on the mark with her control and topping the radar gun with her velocity in notching the victory for Taft.

“Emma’s speed was really good today, and she was hitting all her spots. That helped us a lot,” she said.

Taft improved to 18-8 with the win while the 11th-seeded Vikings of Special District 2 finished their season 15-11.

“We hit the ball well and executed some great bunts,” Stuart said. “We also had one of our best base-running games. Overall, the coaching staff was proud of them.”

Softball’s state champion will be determined Friday, May 31, at the University of Oregon’s Jane Sanders Stadium.

Taft 11, Vale 1
VALE               AB  R  H BI  TAFT              AB  R  H BI
Grace Jacobs        3  0  1  0  Hailee  Danneker   3  2  1  1  
Sierra Cleaver      3  0  0  0  Addie Gates        4  3  3  2  
Alexis Cleaver      2  0  0  0  Emma Coulter       3  2  2  3  
Alexis Rodgers      2  0  0  0  Kayla Lininger     3  0  3  4  
Sadie Thomas        2  0  0  0  Olivia Coulter     2  0  1  0  
Izzy Sigran         2  0  0  0  Claira Tolan       3  0  1  0  
Demiana Hardin      1  0  0  0  Kyla Knott         2  2  1  0  
Sydney Thomas       2  0  0  0  Corey VanDamme     3  1  0  0  
Bailey Tolman       2  0  2  1  Chloe Peterson     3  1  1  0  
*Morgan Hager       0  1  0  0                                    
TOTALS             19  1  3  1  TOTALS            26 11 13 10
VALE                          000 01 --  1  
TAFT                          200 45 -- 11 
LOB--VALE 4, TAFT 6. E--Alexis Cleaver, Corey
VanDamme. 2B--Addie Gates, Kayla Lininger, Emma Coulter.
3B--Emma Coulter. HBP--Kyla Knott. SACF--Hailee Danneker.
SB--Grace Jacobs, Morgan Hager, Kyla Knott, Hailee
Danneker (2), Emma Coulter.
VALE                       IP    H    R   ER   BB   SO   HR
Demiana Hardin            4.67   13   11    6    3    5    0
Emma Coulter              5.00    3    1    1    1    6    0
PB--Sadie Thomas. SO--Grace Jacobs, Izzy Sigran (2), Alexis
Cleaver, Sydney Thomas (2), Hailee  Danneker, Chloe
Peterson, Claira Tolan, Corey VanDamme (2). BB--Demiana
Hardin, Kayla Lininger, Olivia Coulter, Emma Coulter.


Taft catcher Hailee Danneker

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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Taft’s Coulter, Danneker named first-team all-league softball players

Taft High's indomitable pitching and plate presence of junior teammates Emma Coulter and Hailee Danneker has again been rewarded for its formidable talent with both players being chosen first-team all-league for the second straight season.



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