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Stilly Valley majors win another district tourney
It took an extra night, but the Stilly Valley majors softball team continued the program’s streak of district tournament wins.
In a rematch against their first-round opponent, Stilly Valley knew they had their hands full with Sky Valley and the Monroe-based team showed what they had in a 9-5 win July 6, handing Stilly Valley its first loss of the tournament and forcing a second championship game on July 7.
“Tuesday night was a much better game,” said Stilly Valley manager Traci Kerney.
Although the Stilly Valley girls were without their top pitcher Jessica Ludwig, who was sick with the flu, the team came together to pull off a 2-0 win and advance to the state tournament in La Center, near Vancouver.
Maddie Maclean pitched for Stilly Valley and, backed by often outstanding fielding, the girls held on to win a defensive battle and the district trophy.
“She threw a two-hitter that night. She struck out four in the game. She threw strikes all night long,” Kerney said. “They were three up, three down, every inning for the first three innings.
She threw a fantastic game.”
Stilly Valley got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning. Macall McGhee got on base with a line drive toward shortstop, joined by Nikkei Mosley on a hit to the right side.
A sacrifice play by Maclean moved the girls into scoring position, with McGhee scoring on a hit by Jennaka Larson. On a squeeze play, Kailee Morris scored Mosley.
Then, it became a game of holding on.
In the bottom of the fourth, Sky Valley answered by putting two runners on with nobody out. Their No. 3 batter hit a ball to left field, where Morris came up big for Stilly Valley.
“Morris made a shoestring catch and threw the girl out who had not tagged up at second base for a double play,” Kerney said. “It was the play of the game, it was fantastic.”
Later, with two outs, Sky Valley loaded up the bases with a base hit, hit by pitch and a walk.
With their No. 4 batter up, the hit came toward third baseman McGhee, who raced the runner to third.
“McGhee lays out and lays her glove on the base to get the out and dove to beat her there. It was an all-heart play,” Kerney said.
Although Kerney said it was difficult for the girls to take a loss, she thinks it may do them some good against tougher competition at the state tournament.
“I think it lit a little fire under them. They’ve pretty much dominated throughout the season. They realize they have to come out and play hard every game,” she added.