CALDWELL, Idaho – Looking for one win to move on to the NAIA Softball World Series in Columbus, Ga., No. 18 Oregon Tech fell in both games of today’s NAIA Opening Round Tournament Championship to host College of Idaho, as the season came to an end in Caldwell.
Oregon Tech, the Cascade Collegiate Conference regular season champion, finishes the 2014 campaign with a 35-14 overall mark after having reached the NAIA tournament championship three of the past four seasons. C of I will continue their season taking a 33-16 mark to the 10-team NAIA softball championship in Georgia.
College of Idaho forced today’s if-necessary title game defeating Tech 2-1 to open the day. The Owls would fall behind early in game 2, in what became the championship game of the NAIA Softball Opening Round Tournament, by a 3-0 count before falling by a final 10-0 score.
Game 1 - College of Idaho would strike first moving up 2-0 in the bottom of the third inning. A one out walk eventually led to the first run of the game. Briana Brace followed with an infield single, but an errant throw to second to force the runner went into right field where Katie Rowe came all the way around to score, with Brace advancing to second on the play. A walk put runners on first and second, with Destiny Turner producing a RBI single to left making it 2-0 C of I. Rylee Carleton would record a strikeout on the next batter to end inning.
Tech would cut their deficit in half with a single run in the top half of the fourth inning making it a 2-1 game. Cassidy Olson singled with one out, while C of I’s Nickayla Skinner got a strikeout for the second out of the inning. Tre Sullivan next picked up her second hit of the game, a double to deep left-center, plating Olson. Sullivan would end up stranded at second, as C of I threatened in their next at bat.
After the Yotes led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a double, Carleton got the next three C of I batters in order to get out of the inning.
Oregon Tech threatened in the top of the fifth after Sadie Birch led off the inning with a flare single to left field, but on a sacrifice bunt attempt was forced out at second base. McKenzie Shrum next singled putting runners on first and second with one out. With two outs Danielle Sayres walked to load the bases, but Skinner coaxed a ground out to get out of the bases loaded jam.
A comeback bid in Tech’s last at-bat came up short, forcing a final and decisive Game 2 between the Cascade Conference foes. The Owls, however, made it interesting. Tasha Silvius connected on a ball up the middle where C of I shortstop Katie Rowe knocked it down and threw out Silvius on a controversial call at first. Shrum followed with a deep fly ball to left field, where it was caught at the fence by Briana Lace. Game 1 would end by a 2-1 final on a pop up to the pitcher.
Carleton allowed seven hits while striking out four, suffering just her second loss of the season and falling to 7-2 overall. Sullivan recorded a pair of hits, including Tech’s only extra base hit and RBI of the game. Olson, Tori Weatherford, Birch and Shrum singled in the loss.
Game 2 – Oregon Tech was plagued by six errors in the contest, while College of Idaho collected three runs in their first at bat on their way to the victory.
Jessi Duncan recorded a strikeout on C of I leadoff hitter Paige Gabiola, but the Yotes would post three runs before Tech had a chance to bat. An ensuing walk put a runner on first, but Duncan caught a liner to record out two of the first inning. A Destiny Turner single put runners on the corners, while Nickayla Skinner helped her own cause with a RBI single to centerfield. With runners on first and second a throwing error allowed two more runs to make it a 3-0 game before Tech got out of the inning.
The Owls had a great opportunity to put runs up in the bottom of the second inning when Tori Weatherford led off with a double to deep leftfield. A C of I error with one out allowed Silvius first base, while Shrum loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded, Collins laced a ball toward third base where McKensie Stanton snared the liner giving the Yotes two outs. Skinner would get a strikeout to end Tech’s threat.
C of I struck again in the top of the fifth inning, batting through the order and putting seven runs on the board. Skinner drove in her second and third runs on a two-run homerun to left field to extend the Yotes lead to 5-0, while the visitors capitalized on four Tech errors in the inning to post five more runs and lead 10-0.
Oregon Tech, trying to extend the game, went down in order with the game ending by the same 10-0 margin due to the 8-run mercy rule after five complete innings.
Jessi Duncan suffered the loss falling to 17-6 on the season. Sayres, Olson, Weatherford and Shrum picked up hits for the Owls with Weatherford recording a double for the Owls’ only extra base hit.