For the second time in five days, the Roseburg High softball team defeated a club in the Southwest Conference predicted to finish ahead of the Indians in the standings.
The Tribe scored its biggest win of the season to date, defeating previously-unbeaten Grants Pass 9-4 on Wednesday at Stewart Park.
Roseburg (8-5, 3-0 SWC) moved into sole possession of first place in the conference, a half-game ahead of Sheldon (8-2, 2-0). The Cavers (10-1, 2-1), the SWC favorite, are ranked No. 2 and Roseburg No. 8 in this week’s OSAAtoday Class 6A coaches’ poll.
Grants Pass entered Wednesday’s contest averaging 10 runs a game, but Roseburg pitcher Mady Blevins limited the Cavers to one run through six innings.
“We’re kind of rolling,” Roseburg coach Brad Deaver said. “We played pretty solid defense, our bats were live all the way through the lineup, our energy was high. I couldn’t ask for more. I’m super proud of these girls.”
“It gives us a lot of confidence, but at the same time makes us better as a team,” Blevins added. “When we beat good teams like this, it shows we have potential.”
Blevins, a senior right-hander, allowed 10 hits — including a solo home run by Skylar Padgett in the fifth inning and a three-run blast by Brooklyn Hurd in the seventh. But Blevins struck out nine and walked none, and the Indians played errorless defense behind her.
“I spent every practice working on the pitches I was having trouble with and it paid off today,” Blevins said. “I used my off-speed pitch, but kept it low because they can sit back and wait on it. I also threw my riseball a couple of times and those worked out.”
“It was one of her best games hitting her location and getting spin on the ball that she needed to,” Roseburg catcher Samie Bergmann said. “She really kept them off-balance ... didn’t throw the same pitches to the same people every time, so they were always guessing.”
The Indians made the most of their seven hits off Padgett, who hit three batters and walked three.
Roseburg took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, getting a two-run single from Brittany Glasser.
“That was big,” Bergmann said. “We were trying to do the same thing we did against North Medford (last Saturday), hop on them early. We know that can bring the other team down, if you get first blood. To keep them at zero for a long time was also huge for us.”
The Tribe hiked its advantage to 6-1 with a pair of runs with two outs. Roseburg went up 9-1 in the sixth on a check-swing two-run single by Jordan Gibson and an RBI single by Ericka Allen.
“We’re definitely building our confidence,” Bergmann said. “We have a lot of younger girls on the team and I think they’re starting to understand how much the upperclassmen want it. They’re starting to feed off our energy which is really helping out the whole team.”
Glasser finished 2-for-3, Gibson was 2-for-4 and freshman Stephanie Blix knocked in two runs.
Isabelle Cruz went 2-for-3, while Grace Gaither and Padgett were both 2-for-4 for the Cavers.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” G.P. coach Donnie Bellum told his team following the game.
Roseburg is scheduled to host South Medford (3-9, 0-2) Saturday in a doubleheader, beginning at noon.
Grants Pass 000 010 3 — 4 10 2
Roseburg 300 123 x — 9 7 0
Padgett and Woodburn; Blevins and Bergmann. WP — Blevins. LP — Padgett. 2B — Gaither (GP). HR — Padgett (GP), Hurd (GP).