LEBANON - A game filled with offense came down to one big defensive stop.
Trailing by two in the top of the seventh inning, Corvallis had two runners on with no outs and was threatening to retake the lead from Lebanon after giving it up for the first time in the sixth.
But Ella Myers made sure her team stayed out in front.
The Lebanon freshman made a diving catch of a Jada Bratsouleas liner from her second base position to start a game-ending triple play that gave the Warriors a 13-11 win in a Mid-Willamette Conference softball game.
The Corvallis runners were in motion on the contact. From her knees, Myers tossed to Mckenzie Crenshaw at first base for the second out, and the ball went to second to complete the triple play.
“It’s a great play by the second baseman. That’s a diving play that doesn’t get made very often,” Spartans coach Sami Arnst said. “That’s a combination of a great play by her and needing to do a better job of checking where the ball is for our runners.”
In a game filled with big hits, Lebanon (9-4, 3-1) scored five runs in the sixth behind Trinity Holden’s two-run home run to left field, Taylor Edwards’ two-run double to right-center and Laurel McGuigan’s RBI ground out.
That came after Corvallis (3-7-1, 2-2) had extended its lead in the top of the frame to 11-8 on Katie Sinclair’s two-run homer to center.
Myers had two hits and three RBIs before making the play of the game.
“What a play, for her to hold onto that, turn her glove over, then have the (smarts) to make that happen. That was sweet,” Warriors coach Mardy Benedict said.
Both pitchers — Taylor Silbernagel of Corvallis and Edwards — went the distance. Each had one strikeout and hit a batter. Silbernagel walked one and Edwards none.
Edwards was starting in place of teammate Hailey Johnson, who was out of town due to a death in the family.
Edwards said she felt nervous when she first learned that she would get the start. But she was able to relax and settle in after the game’s first few outs.
“Taylor, she battled and she didn’t lose her confidence and could have early,” Benedict said.
But those nerves kicked in again in the seventh, when the Spartans got their first two runners on base via an error and in infield single.
“I’m praying that my team is behind me and that we can make these plays to get the three outs,” Edwards said.
Then she sees the liner off Bratsouleas’ bat and watches as her teammates finish the game.
Big deficits, of which there were three, didn’t seem to faze the Warriors.
“I think we just knew we were going to play as a team and we all had each other’s backs,” Edwards said.
Corvallis led 5-0 in the second before Lebanon scored five to tie it in the bottom half. The Spartans led 9-5 in the fourth after scoring in all four innings to that point.
The Warriors scored three in the fifth to close within 9-8. Corvallis answered back with two in the sixth.
“All the way top to bottom they hit the ball. Base hits, putting pressure on us the whole time,” Benedict said of the Spartans. “Thank goodness, I know we can do that, too.”
After struggling to make adjustments at the plate in a 1-0 home loss to South Albany last Friday, Corvallis found offense in bunches at Lebanon.
The Spartans had 17 hits, led by three apiece from Katie Dunn, Madison Morrison and Sydney Conklin.
Calla Krummel also had a home run for Corvallis and Conklin a double. Krummel and Morrison both had three RBIs.
“We hit better than we’ve hit all year from top to bottom, and it’s unfortunate,” Arnst said. “But we knew the game was going to be like that because Lebanon and us are really similar. We rely on hitting the ball and scoring runs to win.”
For Lebanon, Crenshaw and Edwards both had three hits. Edwards finished with five RBIs, Myers three and Holden two to lead the Warriors.
Edwards also had a home run, while Nicole Bender hit two doubles.