Kaylie Meertens scored on a shallow fly ball in the 7th inning as Eagle Point rallied for a 5-4 win over visiting Sutherlin High School on a cold and blustery March 20 afternoon.
Meertens led off the 7th by drawing a base on balls. She moved to second on a bunt single by Kenzie Nielsen, then to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt by Emily Jeffries. Teanna Gonsalves lifted a fly ball just over the infield that was snagged by the Bulldog second baseman, but Meertens alertly tagged up and managed to beat the throw home for the victory.
After neither team managed much offense in the first three innings, Jeffries beat out a bunt for a single in the bottom of the 4th. She went all the way to third on a Sutherlin throwing error and scored on a wild pitch. The Eagles (3-1) added a second run in the 5th when Karly Tolen reached on an error and later scored on a Nielsen bunt single. Nielsen was the only Eagle with more than one hit.
The Bulldogs took the lead in the top of the 6th, scoring three times on four hits wrapped around an EPHS error. But the Eagles came back in the bottom half of the inning. Paige Leeper’s spinning single eluded the Sutherlin 2nd baseman, and then she moved to second on a wild pitch. Brianna Shopp drove her in with a single and she moved to second on the throw home. That put her in position to score on Tolen’s single.
Sutherlin didn’t quit, putting runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs in the top of the 7th. Despite an error that allowed one run to score, it was the Eagle Point defense that made the clutch plays and the Eagles got out of the inning with the score tied. Winning pitcher Mckinzee Merrill snagged a hard grounder up the middle to throw one runner out at the plate and Jeffries made a running catch of a fly ball in right-center before a pop up ended the threat.
On Monday and Tuesday, EPHS plays in the North Medford Holiday Tournament at the US Cellular Community Park.
Sutherlin Bulldogs scored four runs on 10 hits but committed 4 errors in the contest. The Eagles, now 3-1 overall, put up five runs on seven hits and committed three errors of their own. Merrill was willing pitcher, her third win of the year. Neilson was two-for-three at the plate.
By Frank Marksman
For the Independent