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Lincoln City
Sunday, October 25, 2020

Warriors tame Tigers to gain probable State softball home game

Alyssa Tanksly
Alyssa Tanksley

The Taft High softball team has been relegated to at-large status and a road game in next week’s State tournament following an 8-0 West Valley League playoff loss Friday to Amity at Dayton High School.

The Warriors (14-9, 7-3) fell Friday night to the conference champion Dayton Pirates (19-8, 9-1) for the league’s top seed in the 16-team Class 3A State Softball Championships, which begin Wednesday.

The OSAA is expected to announce the State pairings at approximately 10 p.m. Saturday.

Hailee Danneker
Hailee Danneker

“We have some sort of mental block when it comes to Amity,” Taft coach Sandy Stuart said. “We shut ourselves down before we even step up to the plate. We hit so well this week in practice, but could not bring that in to the game today.”

Taft senior Naomi Rini and sophomore starting pitcher Emma Coulter had the Tigers’ only hits, both singles.

Emma Coulter Hit
Emma Coulter gets a hit

“We have good swings and we know we can hit the ball solid,” Stuart said. “The part where we are lacking right now is the mental side. As a coaching staff, we are just going to do our best to motivate them and make them believe that they can hit any pitcher out there. We have been strong offensively, so we will focus on that.”

Second-place Taft (17-10, 8-2) defeated the third-place Warriors 4-3 at home in regular-season play on April 5, but lost 5-4 at Amity on May 1.

“We are confident, but we are young still,” Stuart said. “Some of the underclassmen haven’t had this feeling before. The postseason doesn’t seem real to them yet.  The seniors were a part of the Tournament two years ago, so they are excited and they want it bad. My hope is that the team can come to a common goal and they can work hard to play well and win — not just for themselves, but for their teammates, as well.”

Coulter struck out eight, but surrendered 12 hits as the Warriors scored three runs in the first, four in the third and one in the fifth.

Emma Coulter
Emma Coulter

“Today was the first time since California [spring break tournament, where the Tigers went 0-5] that our offense was shutout,” Stuart said. “We have always managed to score runs regardless of the pitcher or opponent, but this was different.”

Senior right-hander Brittnie Brown got the win in the circle for the Warriors.

We made some solid contact, but it just happened to be right at defenders all game long,” Stuart said. “We had two hits all game, while they made adjustments on their end and had quite a few hits to the gaps.”

“It was a tough one to lose because we all wanted it so bad. Now, we are going to see what happens with the standings tomorrow and see where we will be headed next week. We have to push on and start over with a new season. We will get new teams and a new shot at something special.”

Amity 8, Taft 0

AMITY                AB  R  H BI
Keeley Graham         5  0  0  0
Brennae Huskey        4  1  1  0
Gabby Rolston         2  2  1  1
Morgan Croxford       4  1  3  0
Breaha Wright         4  2  1  3
Callee Roberts        3  2  3  2
Gracee Wright         4  0  2  2
Brittnie Brown        3  0  1  0
Kira Hand             4  0  0  0
Claira Tolan          3  0  0  0
Kayla Lininger        2  0  0  0
TOTALS               33  8 12  8 

TAFT                 AB  R  H BI
Kyla  Knott           3  0  0  0
Naomi  Rini           3  0  1  0
Hailee  Danneker      2  0  0  0
Emma Coulter          3  0  1  0
Alyssa  Tanksley      3  0  0  0
Makena Cole           1  0  0  0
Madison  Clanton     0  0  0  0
Corey VanDamme        2  0  0  0
McKenzie Evenson     1  0  0  0
TOTALS               23  0  2  0

AMITY                         304 010 0 — 8
TAFT                          000 000 0 — 0

LOB–AMITY 9, TAFT 5. ERR–Kayla Lininger, Corey VanDamme. 2B–Morgan Croxford, Gracee Wright, Gabby Rolston, Callee Roberts. 3B–Callee Roberts. HBP–Callee Roberts,Hailee  Danneker.

AMITY                           IP    H    R   ER   BB   SO   HR
Brittnie Brown                 7.00    2    0    0    2    4    0
TAFT
Emma Coulter                   7.00   12    8    6    4    5    0
PB–Hailee  Danneker. BB–Gabby Rolston (2), Brennae Huskey, Brittnie Brown, Madison  Clanton (2).

PHOTOS BY ERIC DEMELLO

Jim Fossum
Jim Fossumhttp://SilverandBlackToday.com
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 SilverandBlackToday.com, which covers the NFL's Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders.

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