Bulletin staff report
MILTON-FREEWATER — McLoughlin’s Colette Robert went 4 for 4 with a grand slam, a three-run home run and eight RBIs on Tuesday, leading the host Pioneers past Ridgeview 10-2 in a Class 4A softball state semifinal.
The Ravens (20-6) led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning before Robert hit her first blast, the three-run shot, giving McLoughlin a 4-2 lead.
“We started off the (fifth) inning with two walks,” Ravens coach Sandy Fischer said. “Then to correct that, we had to throw an easy pitch to their best hitter.
Rachel Collins relieved Ravens’ starer Sara McKinney after the homer. Robert struck again in the sixth, though, with a grand slam to put the Pioneers ahead 8-2.
McLoughlin (22-3), the No. 2 seed, tacked on two more runs after Robert’s big hit to end the inning with a 10-2 lead.
The Pioneers will play Klamath Falls’ Henley on Saturday at Oregon State University for the 4A state title.
“Today was very much a disappointment,” Fischer said. “We needed to come in with our ‘A’ game and we came in with our ‘B’ game. But overall, with the exception of a couple of pitches and a couple of walks, we played well.”
Ridgeview, the No. 6 seed, totaled seven hits in the semifinal game. Lexy Brown was 2 for 3 and Erin Ware and Hannah George each scored.
The Ravens became the first Central Oregon softball team since 2003 to advance to the semifinals — Culver lost 5-0 in the Class 2A/1A state semifinal round that year. A win would have made Ridgeview the first local softball team to play in the state finals.
“I think we achieved some recognition,” Fischer said. “I think Ridgeview — with the football team and the baseball team advancing as far as we did — is now instantly recognizable in the state.”