The end of the Southwest Conference softball season couldn’t have gone any better for Roseburg on Saturday afternoon.
The Indians sent top-ranked Sheldon home with 10-5 and 5-3 losses on senior day, depriving the Irish from winning the SWC title outright.
Sheldon (20-5, 12-3 SWC) and No. 2 Grants Pass (22-3, 12-3) share first place, although the Irish took two of three games from the Cavers. The two clubs swapped the top two spots in the OSAA Class 6A power rankings Saturday night.
For Roseburg (16-9, 11-4), winning the series with Sheldon is a huge confidence boost heading into the postseason.
“It feels amazing,” Roseburg third baseman Jordan Gibson said. “It’s crazy good. We’re going to come out really confident — not cocky — in the playoffs and keep playing our game.”
“It just shows we can do it,” added pitcher Mady Blevins. “It shows we can go far.”
The Indians finished with 13 hits in the opener, knocking Sheldon starter Camille Leach out in the third inning. Some timely hitting in the nightcap got Roseburg the sweep.
“Senior day, what a way to go out,” RHS coach Brad Deaver said. “I’m proud of the way the girls bounced back after a tough week (last week). They came out and hit the ball against a quality team. Sheldon is No. 1 in the state for a reason.
“This is the way we need to play going into the playoffs. When we’re hitting the ball, we’re going to be tough to beat.”
Blevins gave the Tribe two gutsy pitching efforts against a good hitting team on a warm spring day.
The senior right-hander was around the plate consistently, striking out eight and walking one in the first game. She fanned nine and walked one in the second game.
“I can’t say enough about Mady, throwing two games on senior day,” Deaver said. “She made some big outs and gave us a great performance.”
“At first I was in the wrong mindset (after the senior day recognition). It was hard to go back into game mode,” Blevins said. “But after the first inning I was fine. I felt great. I had a little trouble with my off-speed pitch, but it was really on in the second game. (Having the run support) took a lot of stress off my shoulders.”
The Indians took the lead for good in the first game with four runs in the bottom of the third.
Sophomore Jazmyn Murphy, the No. 9 hitter in Roseburg’s order, had an RBI single to tie the game at 4-4. Jordan Gibson followed with a bomb, ripping a three-run homer off Leach to left field to give the Tribe a three-run lead.
“I was just looking for a first pitch strike,” Jordan Gibson said. “I saw it, took it and it just kept going.”
Murphy added another RBI single in the fourth to make it 8-4. Blevins took Sheldon reliever Haley Sams deep in the fifth, hitting a two-run shot to right-center.
“We really jumped on them,” Blevins said. “We told everybody to have a plan at the plate. Be aggressive and don’t watch the first pitch go by. (Camille Leach) throws strikes, she doesn’t like to walk you. Attack the first pitch you see that’s good and it worked out for us.”
Murphy went 4-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs in the contest. Kami Gibson was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs and Samie Bergmann was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
“We’ve been keeping Jazmyn (Murphy) in there because we know what her potential is,” Deaver said. “She’s probably got the fastest wheels on the varsity team. It’s really fun to get her on base, and Jordan (Gibson) is behind her. We’ve been waiting for that.”
Emma Neuman, Rylee Valentine and Jordan Henderson all had a pair of hits for the Irish.
A two-run double by Bergmann and an RBI single by Marinda Carlyle in the fifth inning helped Roseburg take a 5-2 advantage in the second game.
Carlyle went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs in the contest. Neuman stroked two doubles for Sheldon.
The Irish’s frustrations boiled over in the second game. Henderson was tossed from the contest after voicing her displeasure over an umpire’s call, a Sheldon assistant coach got ejected and a Sheldon fan also got tossed.
Roseburg will travel to South Salem (15-10 overall) Tuesday for a tune-up game for the playoffs, which begin on May 20.
Sheldon 202 000 1 — 5 9 4
Roseburg 214 120 x — 10 13 2
Leach, Sams (3) and Neuman; Blevins and Bergmann. WP — Blevins LP — Leetch. 2B — Neuman (S), Allen (R), Bergmann (R), K. Gibson (R). HR — Gibson (R), Blevins (R).
Sheldon 101 000 1 — 3 7 4
Roseburg 000 140 x — 5 5 2
Leach and Neuman; Blevins and Bergmann. WP — Blevins. LP — Leach. 2B — Neuman 2 (S), Bergmann (R), Carlyle (R).