Cinderella season ends fast for the Eagles

By ADAM LAPIERRE

News staff writer

May 24, 2006

The Hood River Valley High School varsity softball team’s 23-game winning streak came to a screeching halt Tuesday in the first round of the 4A state playoffs. The Eagles hosted the Westview Wildcats — the number three team from the Metro League — in a game that would end with a stunning 6-2 Westview upset over the Eagles. The game ended the home team’s 25-1 Cinderella season in about an hour and a half.

In what is sure to be the Eagles’ most frustrating game of the season, a total of five errors gave Westview an unearned run in the first inning, two unearned runs in the third and another in the seventh.

They were also unable to put things together at bat. With a strong Westview pitcher and solid fielding, the Eagles went scoreless until the bottom of the seventh inning, when Meghan Flem got on base with a double and was driven home by Brianne Rowley, who nailed her sixth home run of the season.

In the first six innings, the Wildcats’ defense was nearly perfect. They made several great stops and throw-downs that effectively halted the Eagles’ typically dominant offensive game. And at bat, Westview’s short game was highly effective. They laid down multiple bunts, which the Eagles faltered on several times.

As is the case with all sports, teams have good and bad days. Tuesday was the Wildcats’ turn to have a good one and the Eagles’ turn to have a bad one. Unfortunately for Hood River, the state tournament is single-elimination, leaving little room for off days.

Ending a season like they did is never easy to swallow. But the girls had a great spring, and one tough loss should not take away from their 25 sweet victories and an undefeated Intermountain Conference season.

For the team’s five seniors, Chelsey Elliott, Meghan Flem, Stefanie Draper, Kayla Monahan and Rochelle Friend, the loss would be their last game as Eagles. When they look back weeks, months and years from now, however, one loss will be small change compared to the memories of coming together as one of the best teams HRV fastpitch has seen.

All-League honors

The Intermountain Conference All-league team was announced this week. After a 16-0 IMC record, 12 of which were shut-outs, the Eagles filled the list of All-League players, including Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and Coach of the Year.

2006 IMC All-League:

Player of the Year —

Brianne Rowley

Pitcher of the Year —

Stefanie Draper

Coach of the Year —

Phil Hukari

1st Team All-league:

Stefanie Draper — pitcher

Chelsey Elliott — pitcher

Rochelle Friend — catcher

Brianne Rowley — infielder

Meghan Flem — infielder

Kayla Monahan — outfielder

Second team All-League:

Kate Blumenthal — outfielder

Lindsey Smith — DP/utility

Honorable Mention:

Sarah Wood — infielder

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