IVHS softball team keeps on slugging

John Michaels
IVN Contributing Writer

The Illinois Valley High School softball team wound up with the better part of a three game split in three Special District 6 league games against Glendale last week. The Lady Cougars are now 9-6 on the year with a 9-3 mark in District 6 play. I.V. dropped to No. 15 in the OSAA 2A softball rankings.
The week started with a relatively easy walk-off 27-17 win against the Pirates in Cave Junction Tuesday. The Cougars scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, with a home run by Aliyah Murphy being the big blow, to invoke the 10-run rule and end the game early.
Glendale scored twice in each of the first two innings and had a 4-1 lead when I.V. came to bat in the bottom of the second. But Illinois Valley put four runs up to take a brief 5-4 lead. The Pirates scored three more times in the third, again grabbing a lead. But the Cougars grabbed the lead for good with eight runs in the bottom of the frame.
The top of the order was instrumental in I.V.’s success as lead-off hitter Morgan Melton scored four times. Kiara Walker and Kaylynn Thompson, the No. 2 and 3 hitters in the line-up, each scored five times. Murphy, the clean-up hitter, scored her third run of the day on her homer in the sixth.
On Friday, Illinois Valley traveled to Glendale to complete the series with a doubleheader. On an afternoon that swung back and forth until the final pitch, the Cougars dropped the first game 9-8 in nine innings, before rallying to win the second game 14-12.
In the opener, Melton got the Cougars on the board in the bottom of the first inning. Melton doubled, stole third base and scored on a wild pitch. Right after that, the Pirates came back with a pair of runs in both the first and second innings to take a 4-1 lead. But I.V. rallied to tie the game in the top of the third. Walker singles and stole second. She scored on Thompson’s double to left field. Thompson eventually scored on an error. Isabelle Guzman tied the game when she walked, stole second and scored on Megan Creek’s single.
Glendale would regain the lead, again scoring a pair of runs in consecutive innings in the fifth and sixth. But the Cougars rallied from the 8-5 deficit to tie the game with three runs in the seventh. Thompson and Guzman both singled but a pair of pop-ups bookending Guzman’s single left I.V. with just one out. Fortunately, Megan Creek homered to left center, tying the game. After Illinois Valley squelched a two-out threat to hold Glendale scoreless in the seventh, the game went to extra innings.
Unfortunately, after a scoreless eighth, the Pirates would score on a passed ball in the ninth to even the three-game series at 1-1. Walker was the hard luck loser in the circle. She tossed 8 1/3 innings giving up 14 hits. She also walked six. Walker fanned eight in the loss.
Melton, Walker and Creek each had three hits in the game. Each doubled once and Creek had the three-run home run in the sixth. Thompson also had a pair of hits, including a double. Murphy, Guzman and Breanna Reed also got hits for I.V.
The rubber game of the match was another back-and-forth affair, but IVHS managed to end up on the positive side to win the series with a 14-12 victory.
The Cougars batted through the line-up in each of the first two innings, building up an 8-3 lead after two. Melton got things going in both innings for I.V. In the first, she walked, stole second and scored on Thompson’s single. The Cougars loaded the bases when both Murphy and Guzman were hit by a pitch. Thompson scored on Reed’s single, and Murphy scored when Creek grounded out.
The Cougars used two walks, two more hit batters and two hits to score five runs in the second. Isabella Podoll delivered the key hit, a two -run single that gave IVHS its final runs in the inning. Building an 8-2 lead. Glendale would score single runs in the second and third innings, cutting I.V.’s advantage to 8-4. But Guzman singled, moved up on a pair of pitches that got by the catcher and scored on Podoll’s single in the fourth, putting the Cougars up by five at 9-4.
IVHS needed that cushion as the Pirates struck for three in the bottom of the frame, making the score 9-7 going into the fifth. In the fifth, Melton would lead off with a triple, and score on Murphy’s sacrifice fly. This set the stage for the Cougars huge sixth inning, which would wind up winning the game.

Reed led off with a walk, moving to third when Podoll and Athena Demuth were hit by pitches. Walker singled, plating Reed and Podoll. With a pair of runners on, Thompson doubled sending Demuth and Walker home with the eventual game winning runs. The Cougars would need those runs as Glendale scored five runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Both teams went scoreless in the seventh, and IV left Glendale still in control of second place in District 6.

Melton picked up the win on the mound, throwing the last 5 1/3 innings. She gave up 11 hits and walked three while striking out a pair. On offense Podol, Thompson and Walker were instrumental in the Cougars win. Each had two hits and three RBIs. Thompson and Reed also each had a pair of hits. Melton had just one hit, a triple, but reached base and scored three times. Creek had one hit and two RBIs. Murphy had another hit and an RBI for IV.

The Lady Cougars hope to lock down a play-off spot with three more District 6 games on the slate this week. Illinois Valley traveled to Days Creek for a single game Tuesday. IV will then host the Wolves for a double header starting at noon on Friday. The Lady Cougars will then travel to Bonanza to take on the Antlers in a single District 6 game next Tuesday.