DRAIN — The reigning Class 2A/1A softball state champion North Douglas Warriors rallied late in the second game to secure a Special District 3 doubleheader sweep of Days Creek, winning 3-0 and 4-3 at Hooker Field on Friday.
The Wolves were well on their way to stealing a split against the reigning Warriors, taking a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth before a frightening scene put everything on hold.
North Douglas freshman Brooke McHaffie stepped into the batter’s box to lead off the bottom of the sixth and Days Creek pitcher Shandiin Yanito-Newton prepared to fire the first pitch.
And the home plate umpire collapsed.
People raced to home plate to assist the umpire, who was motionless for roughly a minute. An ambulance from North Douglas Fire & EMS soon arrived on scene and two EMTs cared for the umpire before he was ultimately able to get back to his feet.
After a 30-minute delay, the game resumed and for the Warriors, a flip was switched.
“After the delay, we just got pumped up. We wanted to play for the umpire and finish it,” North Douglas freshman pitcher Bella Black said.
And finish they did.
McHaffie belted a leadoff double to deep left field and scored when Lailah Ward reached on a two-base throwing error.
Two batters later, freshman Maddy Vaughn crushed a ball to the fence in deep right field which resulted in a two-run, inside-the-park home run which pushed the Warriors to a 4-3 lead.
Then Black slammed the door, pitching a 1-2-3 seventh inning to seal the win.
“My freshmen just keep stepping up,” Warriors coach Jesse Rice said.
“It seemed like (the delay) affected us a little bit,” Wolves coach Katie Staudemaier said. “It definitely changed the momentum.”
Yanito-Newton, who also pitched the first game for Days Creek, had minimized the damage by North Douglas through the first five innings, scattering five hits through the first five innings.
The Warriors finally got on the board when Rice shifted his offense into “small ball” mode, with four bunts over the course of five batters finally producing a North Douglas run.
“We were having trouble picking up Shandiin’s pitches and we needed some baserunners,” Rice said. “So I went to small ball. I just kept saying, ‘Get out there and bunt,’ and the girls put down some great bunts.”
“I was proud of the girls the way they had been in control, but (North Douglas) did some really good small ball,” Staudemaier said.
The Wolves, who had been limited to just three hits in the opening game, jumped all over Black to start the nightcap, with Megan Kruzic belting a double to open the game and scoring on a single by Yanito-Newton. Days Creek added a run in the third when Lyris Berlingeri scored on a dropped fly ball in the outfield.
Days Creek pushed its lead to 3-1 in the sixth when freshman McKenzie Park singled home Kailee Chandler.
Black, in her first complete game in the pitcher’s circle, recorded nine strikeouts and walked one. None of the Wolves’ runs were earned.
“She just did a great job,” Rice said of Black. “She didn’t crack under the pressure. She pitched a great first game.”
Black’s performance followed a brilliant complete game from Halli Vaughn, who threw a three-hit shutout for the Warriors in the opener. Days Creek advanced only three runners to second base.
Vaughn finished with 10 strikeouts and one hit batter.
North Douglas scored all of its three runs during a fifth-inning surge, anchored by a two-run single from Brooklyn Williams which glanced off the tip of the glove of diving Wolves shortstop Berlingeri. Lailah Ward got the rally started with a leadoff single, stole second and third and scored on a passed ball.
Asia Ward doubled, scored a run and had a stolen base for the Warriors in the opener and Samantha MacDowell added a double.
The defensive play of the game was turned in in bottom of the first inning of the nightcap. Cyndi Dill singled and stole her way to third for the Warriors.
With two outs, Halli Vaughn popped what appeared to be a routine fly ball to Berlingeri, but the Wolves’ freshman shortstop bobbled the catch, then bobbled it four more times before finally snaring the ball while laid out in the dirt for the third out.
The losses were the first of the season for Days Creek (5-2 SD3), which is scheduled to visit Yoncalla at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
North Douglas (8-0 SD3) remained unbeaten and will host Lowell at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
D. Creek 000 000 0 — 0 3 2
N. Douglas 000 030 x — 3 7 2
Yanito-Newton and Wheeler; H. Vaughn and L. Ward. W — H. Vaughn. L — Yanito-Newton. 2B — A. Ward (ND), MacDowell (ND).
D. Creek 101 001 0 — 3 6 4
N. Douglas 000 103 x — 4 10 2
Yanito-Newton and Wheeler; Black and L. Ward. W — Black. L — Yanito-Newton. 2B — Kruzic (DC), Stufflebeam (DC), Crume (DC), McHaffie (ND). HR — M. Vaughn (ND).