REDMOND — Timely hitting had been lacking for Ridgeview for 62⁄3 innings.
Then Sage McVay stepped to the plate.
The sophomore delivered her third hit of the day — a soft liner over shortstop into shallow left field — to score Ally Henry from second base, lifting the No. 1-seeded Ravens to a 3-2 win over No. 8 Central in a Class 5A softball quarterfinal playoff game Friday at Ridgeview High.
The victory lifts the Ravens (22-2) into the state semifinal round after losses in the quarterfinals each of the past two seasons.
Ridgeview has been to the semifinals once before: in 2014 as a Class 4A team.
“It’s a win,” said Ravens coach Sandy Fischer. “But they (the Panthers) hung in there, and our clutch hitting was not there until the very end.”
Ridgeview had several opportunities to take command, but the Intermountain Conference champions twice left the bases loaded and stranded 14 runners on base for the game.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t break it open,” said Fischer.
“I don’t know if our hitters were tight or what. But we need to make some improvement by Tuesday.”
That is when Ridgeview will host No. 4 West Albany, which advanced to the semifinal round with a 9-3 win over Pendleton on Friday.
The Ravens scored single unearned runs in the first and third innings with the help of two of Central’s five errors.
But after pitcher Allicitie Frost blanked the Panthers (17-10) through six innings, the visitors finally broke through to tie it in the top of the seventh on a one-out, two-run single by Peyton Foreman.
In the home half of the seventh, Henry was safe on a one-out error, and with two outs, she went to second base on a single by Kiani Nakamura.
That set the stage for McVay’s game-winning hit, on which Henry scored with ease.
Nakamura finished with two of the Ravens’ eight hits.
Frost earned the victory in the circle, striking out six and allowing five hits.
“It’s lose or go home,” said Fischer about the postseason. “There’s a stress level there. And we’ve got to learn that every game is the same mentality.”