By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
With a pair of wins over the North Bend Bulldogs Thursday, the Brookings-Harbor High School softball team secured a spot in the state playoffs.
The Bruins finished off the Bulldogs in five innings in the first game of the doubleheader, 10-0, and then rattled off 13 hits in a 12-3 drubbing of the Bulldogs in the night cap.
"We put ourselves in a good position for next week," Coach Steve Padilla said. "Next week is a big week for us. We clinched a playoff spot, but we want to aim higher."
With only three games left to play, the Bruins (9-3, 13-9) still have a chance to take second place in the league and earn a home playoff game as long as they sweep Sutherlin in the final doubleheader of the year.
Game one: North Bend 0, Brookings 10 (5 innings)
Senior pitcher Jessie Goergen and the Bruin defense smothered the Bulldogs in game one as Goergen gave up only two hits and the defense only had one error.
The Bruin bats were alive and well in both games as they racked up 21 hits in the doubleheader.
"We've really started to have some people hit the ball well," Padilla said. "It's nice to see us swinging the bats and see the hard work pay off."
Freshman Jillian McCool started off the game with a bang as she hit the first Bulldog pitch over the wall for her first home run of the year to give the Bruins a quick 1-0 lead.
In the second inning, freshman Vanessa Meirer hit into a fielder's choice that scored senior Jennifer Sirchuck, who reached base via a single.
Kara Miller put the Bruins up 4-0 in the fourth inning as she crushed a double to the wall that scored Meirer and sophomore Savannah Beckley.
Goergen and senior Brooke Blofsky then reached base on consecutive errors by North Bend, building their lead to 6-0.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning, Goergen hammered a double to the wall that cleared the bases, scoring senior Jamie Kay, junior Breanne Manley and Meirer.
Blofsky then stepped up to the plate and ended the game as she hit a bloop single to shallow right field that scored Goergen and gave the Bruins the 10-0 victory.
Nine of the ten Bruins who saw action in game one got on base, with eight different Bruins scoring a run.
Goergen led the team with two hits and three RBIs, while McCool, Miller, Blofsky, Sirchuck, Kay and Manley each had one hit apiece.
Game two: North Bend 3, Brookings 12
In game two, the Bruins continued to punish the Bulldogs at the plate with 12 runs on 13 base hits.
Goergen belted her second home run of the year in the first inning a two-run shot over the center field fence.
Freshman Ciara Freeman added a run later in the inning as she scored on a wild pitch, putting the Bruins up 3-0.
In the second inning, Meirer hit a single to left and then scored on a booming triple by Miller to center field.
Miller came home on an RBI single by Goergen, who later scored on a throwing error by North Bend to give the Bruins a 6-0 advantage.
Kay knocked in the final runs of the inning with a two-run double up the middle that scored Blofsky and Freeman.
North Bend added a pair of runs in the third, but the Bruins bounced right back with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
After McCool and Meirer led off the inning with back-to-back walks, Miller brought them both home with a two-run single.
Three batters later, Freeman hit a sky high sacrifice fly to left that scored Miller and extended the Bruin lead to 11-2.
The Bulldogs added a lone run in the fifth inning, which was matched by the Bruins in the bottom of the fifth as Blofsky scored on a Bulldog overthrow to make the final score 12-3.
Miller had a huge day at the plate in game two, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs. Goergen also had a monster day as she went 3-for-5 from the plate with three RBIs and two runs.
Meirer, Sirchuck and Kay each had a pair of hits and Freeman recorded the other Bruin base hit.
The final regular season home game for the Bruins will be at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6, against the league-leading South Umpqua Lancers. It will also be senior night for six Bruin softball players.
On Friday, May 9, the Bruins will make the lengthy trek to Sutherlin to take on the Bulldogs in a pivotal doubleheader that starts at 3 p.m.