Lady Cougs have a mixed week

John Michaels
IVN Contributing Writer

The Illinois Valley High School softball team had a good start, but a miserable ending in three Special District 6 league games against Lost River last week. The Lady Cougars are now 7-5 on the year with a 7-2 mark in District 6 play. I.V. is currently ranked No. 13 by OSAA in 2A softball. They are in a virtual tie with Lost River for first place in District 6.
The week started with a huge walk-off 6-5 win against the Raiders in Cave Junction Tuesday. Isabelle Guzman hit a game-winning triple, scoring Kaylynn Thompson and Chiara Miller, in the bottom of the seventh as Illinois Valley took sole control of first place in the league temporarily.
Guzman’s triple came after Lost River had taken the lead in the top of the seventh when the Raiders’ Morgan Herring singled in Gemma Bigoni to give Lost River a 5-4 lead.
In a game that swung back and forth until the final pitch, Morgan Melton got the Cougars on the board in the bottom of the third inning, right after the Raiders had taken a 2-0 lead. Melton doubled to left center and came home on Kiara Walker’s single. I.V. took the lead the next inning, scoring three runs to take a 4-2 lead. Guzman and Breanna Reed both walked, and Guzman scored on a single by Emilee Jones. After Melton singled, Walker doubled to center, scoring both Reed and Jones.
Lost River tied the game in the fifth, then took the lead in the seventh, setting the stage for Guzman’s heroics. After a lead-off ground out, Thompson singled to left. Then Miller singled, with Thompson going to third. The Cougars initiated a double steal, with Miller successfully stealing second, but Thompson played it safe and remained at third. A strikeout on the following hitter left I.V. with just one chance to tie or win the game. Guzman came up, tripled to right field scoring the tying and winning runs for the Cougars.
Aside from Guzman, who went 1-for-3 with the triple, a walk, a run scored and two RBIs, the other hitting hero of the game had to be Walker. Walker was 2-for-4 with a double and accounted for three RBIs. Melton also was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Miller went 2-for-3 with a walk and scored the game winner. Thompson had a hit and a run scored as did Jones.
Walker picked up the win in the circle for the Cougars. She tossed all seven innings and battled through control issues throughout the game. Walker gave up just five hits, but issued eight walks and hit three batters. She did wind up striking out four.
Unfortunately, no such heroics were in the cards for Illinois Valley. They traveled to Merrill on Friday for the remainder of the series with Lost River. The Raiders swept Friday’s twinbill 14-4 and 10-0.
Although, I.V. grabbed an early lead in the opener, leading 3-0 after hitting in the second. Guzman led off with a walk and stole second base. Megan Creek then reached on an error. Reed delivered the big blow with a two-run triple to center field. She scored the final run of the inning on Melton’s ground ball to shortstop.
The lead would be short-lived. Lost River tallied two runs in the bottom of the inning, and then five runs on just one hit in the third as control issues again plagued I.V. pitchers.
Melton cut the lead to 7-4 in the fourth when she singled, moved to second on an error and scored on Thompson’s single. The Raiders would strike for seven more runs over the next two innings to invoke the 10-run rule and end the game after five innings.
I.V. was held to just six hits in the game. Only Thompson had multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and RBI. Melton was 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. Walker went 1-for-3, Aliyah Murphy was 1-for-3 with a double and Reed’s triple, run scored and two RBIs rounded out the offense.
Lost River’s Avery Turner bookended the scoring for the Raiders, in another 5-inning win. Turner led off the bottom of the first with a home run, then ended the game in the fifth with another home run, this one a 3-run shot.

I.V. managed just two hits and four baserunners in the loss. Miller had both hits and went 2-for-2 in the game. The only other Cougar to reach base was Walker, who walked twice. Despite the losses, I.V. remains in a virtual tie for first place with Lost River. The Raiders are percentage points ahead and a game up in the loss column, while I.V. currently has one more league win.

The Lady Cougars hope to rebound with three more District 6 games on the slate this week. I.V. hosted the Glendale Pirates in a single game Tuesday. I.V. will then take to the road for three straight games, traveling to Glendale for a District 6 doubleheader this Friday. The Lady Cougars will then travel to Day’s Creek to take on the Wolves in a single District 6 game next Tuesday.