When Hood River and The Dalles/Wahtonka prepared to face off on Monday, both teams knew that it would be a tough game and that who ever won would be the 2005 Intermountain Conference champion.
What neither team could have predicted was an 11-inning thriller ending with a mere one-run margin. After two and half hours, in the 11th., The Dalles/Wahtonka drove in the winning run for the 3-2 victory.
"It was so stressful," said first baseman Meghan Flem. "The game just seemed to drag on and on."
"It was exactly the type of game I thought it would be," head coach Phil Hukari commented. "I knew it would come down to who got the better breaks … and they got the break."
The first break for the The Dalles/Wahtonka came during the top of the sixth inning, when back-to-back errors by Sara Cate and Chelsey Elliot allowed two runs, giving the competition a two-run advantage over HRV.
Their lead didn't last for long, however, and in the bottom of the sixth inning, with two outs and runners of first and second, Brianne Rowley delivered a short blooper down the third base line. The ball was easily fielded by TDW third baseman Ashley Keimig, who made the throw to Katie Johns at first base.
Spectators on both sides were certain that this would be the end of the inning, but Johns was unable to hold on to the ball and two runs came in off the error to tie the score 2-2.
Neither team would score in the final inning of regulation play, taking the game into extra innings. The score remained the same through the eighth and ninth innings, and the tenth inning marked the beginning of international tiebreaker play.
In an international tiebreaker, the player who was the last out in the previous inning begins the next inning on second base, ready to run. With each team starting their half of the inning with a runner in scoring position, play continues as normal until one team is ahead at the end of an inning.
A scare came to the Eagles during the top of the tenth inning when a batter hit a line shot over Elliot's head into center field.
Eagle Katie Flory was able to get the ball in and save the run, but not before Keimig had safely reached first base, giving TDW the advantage of two base runners.
Johns, the next up for The Dalles/Wahtonka, hit a short line drive down the line to third baseman Sarah Wood, who caught the balland fielded it to Flem at first base before Keimig could get back, scoring a double-play and ending TDW's half of the inning.
"That was a big play to stop The Dalles' momentum," said Flem.
Hood River was unable to score another run, however, and a double by Sarah Clark of The Dalles in the top of the 11th. drove in the game winning run.
Their second place finish secured the Eagles a home playoff game on Monday evening at Westside School.
"We are treating this as a bonus," said Hukari. "Anything can happen in state, and we're just going to take it one game at a time. I want to keep this season going as long as possible.”