By Emily Oller
REDMOND — Things were looking grim for Ridgeview.
But the Ravens, who were shut out heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, quickly — and forcefully — turned it around on Thursday.
Ridgeview scored three runs in the fifth and added four more in the sixth to turn a 4-0 deficit into a three-run lead on its way to a 7-4 softball win over North Valley of Grants Pass in a Class 4A play-in game.
The victory earns the Ravens their first state playoff appearance in the school’s brief two-year history, which is expected to be a home game on Wednesday against an opponent to be determined.
“The win feels so good,” said Ridgeview shortstop Erin Ware, who went 4 for 4 with a double and four RBIs. “I’m a senior, and it was great to see my team come back and get the win — for them, but also for our seniors.”
Ridgeview had a mere three hits prior to the fifth — two by Ware.
“We came in knowing we were the underdog,” North Valley coach Charles Chase said. “We were a 30th-ranked team (in the 4A rankings) against a seventh-ranked team. Our kids are better than what our record shows and attitudes were great.”
The tides turned in the fifth inning for the Ravens, as Shawna Marshall stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and nobody out. Marshall capitalized and ripped a two-run double to begin the Ridgeview comeback.
“Going up to the plate at my (previous) at-bat there were bases loaded, and I got up and popped one up (for an out),” Marshall said. “So I had to redeem myself. So I went up, took a deep breath, and I just waited for my pitch.”
The rally did not stop there. The next batter, Ware, belted an RBI double of her own to cap the three-run inning.
“She (North Valley pitcher Emily Allen) just pitched the same thing to me every time,” Ware said. “So I just waited for her to throw that same pitch, and I took it every time. The last time I went up to bat in the sixth inning, I took a deep breath and heard all of our fans and just went up there and smacked the ball.”
Momentum carried into the sixth, when the Ravens racked up four additional runs to complete the comeback and clinch Ridgeview’s first-ever postseason victory.
Sara McKinney came on to pitch in relief in the second inning for the Ravens after starter Rachel Collins gave up three first-inning runs. The Ridgeview junior stuck out seven over the last six innings to pick up the victory, sending the Raven to their eighth win in the last nine games.
“The first inning that I went in, I threw two balls that I didn’t want to throw,” McKinney said. “But I was confident with all of my pitches and it helped that my catcher, Paige (Davis), called a great game.”
While Ware provided an offensive clinic, Marshall chipped in with a 2-for-4 showing and two RBIs.
“Last year we went to play-ins and just got crushed,” Ridgeview coach Sandy Fischer said, referring to the Ravens’ 10-0 five-inning loss to Yamhill-Carlton last season. “We weren’t even in the game for a minute, and they didn’t want to feel that again. Our seniors didn’t want to go out that way (this year). Now we just need to focus on the basics.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0375, email@example.com.