Ryan Sparks
Curry Coastal Pilot

In what could be considered their first true test of the season, the Brookings-Harbor High School Lady Bruins softball team won three of four games at the Central Oregon Tournament in Bend this past week, stretching their record to 6-1 as they head into league play.

The Lady Bruins, who played four games in the span of two days, competed in the 20-team tournament against some top flight teams. BHHS head coach Steve Bonde felt the experience was a good barometer for where his team is at heading in the Far West league season.

"It was a nice experience for the girls," he said. "We got to see some really good teams, including a 5A team from Portland that we normally would not get the chance to play against."

Game 1: Regis 0, BHHS 6

The Lady Bruins started off the tournament with a solid, all-around performance. BHHS' offense, as they have been doing every game thus far, scored early and often, plating two runs in the first inning and three in the second. That was all the run support Lady Bruin starting pitcher Hannah Goergen would need, as she scattered three hits and struck out six to earn an impressive complete game shutout over the Rams.

BHHS centerfielder Kaitlin Saphiloff went 2-3 with two RBIs to lead a Lady Bruin offense that totalled 11 hits from nine different players.

Game 2: Roosevelt 5, BHHS 6

In a game that sported five lead changes, Lady Bruin Megan Strain's two-out, line drive single to right field scored Alaura Marrington in the bottom of the seventh inning to give BHHS a thrilling walk-off win over the class 5A Roosevelt Roughriders.

Roosevelt jumped on the Lady Bruins early, scoring three time in the top of the first. BHHS, which has scored runs in bunches this season, battled back by scoring runs in four of the first five innings to take a 5-3 lead heading into the sixth inning.

The Roughriders, down to their last six outs, tied the game in the sixth inning by scoring two runs with two outs.

Once again, BHHS' offense responded. With two outs and the bases empty, Marrington started a Lady Bruin rally by driving a single to leftfield. Courtney Kay followed with a walk, putting Marrington, who represented the winning run, on second base. Up strode Strain, who drove a two-strike pitch for a single that scored Marrington for a walk-off win, the Lady Bruins' second such win of the season.

"They got down early to Roosevelt but they bounced right back," exclaimed Bonde. "They kept chipping away until they got the lead and Megan came through with a big hit," said Bonde. "It was textbook."

Game 3: La Salle Prep 10, BHHS 5

In a game that was late to start due to an hour-and-a-half rain delay, the Lady Bruins dropped their first game of the season to the La Salle Prep Falcons' in large part due to errors and miscues.

BHHS committed six errors and only three of the Falcons 10 runs were earned.

A candid and honest Bonde admits the rain delay and weather played a big factor in the outcome of the game.

"I take the blame for that one. We got there early and then the hail and rain came. It was windy and cold and they sat out there way too long, nearly three-and-a-half hours before gametime. We just played slow, we batted slow, we ran slow, we threw slow, we did everything slow," he said.

Game 4: BHHS 5, Willamina 1

For the fourth game of the tournament, and their sixth of seven games this season, the Lady Bruins scored runs in the first inning as two crossed the plate to jump to an early lead against the Willamina Bulldogs.

Pitching and defense, which eluded BHHS in their previous game, were prevalent against the Bulldogs as the Lady Bruins only committed one error and pitcher Courtney Kay was strong on the mound.

Kay allowed just two hits and struck out six in earning a complete game victory while dropping her ERA to 1.66.

BHHS' Hannah Baron stole four bases, bringing her season total to an astonishing 21 in just seven games. Outfielder MiMi Hernandez had two hits, a run and an RBI in the victory.

The Lady Bruins are hitting .389 as a team and have scored 51 runs (7.2 per game) and have stolen 50 bases (7.14 per game) on the season. Goergen and Kay have combined on the pitcher's mound for a 1.58 team ERA, 1.24 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) and 31 strikeouts.

What the numbers don't show is something only the naked eye can see; this team is playing at a high level early in the season.

"We really tried to drive home that this is the last high school sport they will play together and they need to win for each other," said Bonde. "Everything about our play is elevated right now."

Special thanks to Deanna Marrington for providing photos and to gamechanger.io for providing game information.