While the HRV varsity softball team was garnering most of the attention this season for its state playoff run, another Eagle team was busy dismantling the Mt. Hood Conference in its own right.
Led by offensive stars Kara Graves and Napua Wampler, and pitching sensations Sarah Sherrell and Alicia Friend, the HRV freshman softball team posted an incredible 12-2 record (19-2 overall), including a five-game win streak to finish out the season.
“The key to our second-half success was the emergence of Sarah Sherrell and Michelle McCafferty as a dominant battery,” coach Cary Mallon said. “They used an unpredictable combination of pitches with different speeds to keep hitters off balance. And most teams left frustrated and behind.”
The Eagles won 11 of their final 12 ballgames and missed out an undefeated campaign with two close losses to league champ Centennial, which had just one loss to the other league power, Sandy.
“In the rematch against Centennial (April 24), we played well but came up a bit short,” Mallon said. “We took a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the sixth, but they scored five runs on five hits to beat us 10-6.”
Two more memorable games for the Eagles down the stretch were April 29 versus Sandy and May 6 versus Barlow.
The rematch against Sandy was a pitching and defensive battle, as both teams recorded just three hits. HRV scored its only two runs on the same play — an infield grounder that produced one run on a fielder’s choice (Rachel Millard) and the other on an overthrow (Jesse Plog)
In the seventh, Sandy put the tying run on second, but Eagle second baseman Ashley Heck snagged a sinking liner to end the game.
That set up the rematch with Barlow, a team the Eagles came from behind to beat 8-7 on April 15. HRV dominated game two, however, by playing nearly error-free defense the entire way.
With the exception of Centennial, the Eagles beat every Mt. Hood Conference team twice. The girls consistently posted double figures in runs, and rarely gave up runs — a deadly combination at any level.