Tigard softball sticks together through season’s ups and downs

Tigard’s Regan Jeub (No. 22) celebrates with Claire Masters after Masters scored a run in Tigard’s 5-4 home win against Tualatin. Adam Littman/Tigard Life
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Throughout a streaky season so far, the Tigard softball team has continued to show fight.

Except with each other.

“We’ve stayed connected,” said senior Ella Dardis. “We never get into fights with each other, which can happen when things aren’t going well all the time. We don’t do that. We’ve kept our friendships with each other. We’ve managed to stay positive with each other no matter what’s going on.”

With a little more than three weeks left in the regular season, the Tigers stand at 12-7 as of our press deadline. Tigard jumped out to an impressive start with a six-game winning streak early in the season, and followed up by trading off wins and losses over the next nine games.

But Tigard’s resiliency was on display April 24 at home against rival Tualatin. The Timberwolves jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first and held Tigard scoreless for four-plus innings. Tigard plated three runs in the bottom of the fifth, and another in the sixth as starting pitcher Macy Witt cruised, holding Tualatin scoreless for five innings after the first.  

In the top of the seventh, Tualatin scored a run and loaded to bases to go down 4-2. With two outs, a bloop hit to right field appeared to end the game as a runner was tagged out on a play at the plate. Tigard left the field, assuming the game was over after the umpire called the runner out. As Tigard players were putting away their equipment and cleaning up the field, a discussion was taking place amongst coaches.

Tualatin said two players scored before the runner was thrown out at home, so the game was tied. Tigard had to go grab their equipment and retake the field while players chased down the umpires, who were already heading to the parking lot.

“I’ve never been in a game where something like that happened,” Dardis said.

Tigard didn’t score in the bottom of the seventh, sending the game to extra innings. Witt stayed in the game in the eighth, and kept Tualatin off the board. In the bottom of the eighth, Tigard put runners on second and third with one out, and Adrieanna Perez walked it off on a sacrifice fly.

“We just knew we had to lock back in and regain our focus,” Perez said. “We had to go back to playing how we had been.”

Junior Claire Masters wasn’t surprised by the Tigers turning things around after a slow start.

“We always bring the energy late in game,” she said. “Being able to pick each other up is huge. We just need to start bringing the energy even earlier in games like we do in the last innings.”

Tigard Head Coach Pete Kostel said it’s exactly what he’s come to expect from his team this year.

“The fight they show as a team goes a long way,” Kostel said. “Even when things don’t go like we hope, they’re learning things. We’ve fought in each inning of every game we’ve played this year.”

Kostel said Dardis has been a big reason for that at the top the lineup.

“Ella Dardis has done what we ask of her,” he said. “She’s getting on base, running around, and stealing bases. She’s been great.”

Recently, Dardis committed to play collegiately at Oregon State University. Last year, she was named to the all-state third team for infielders. Also earning all-state honors last year were Witt, who was named an honorable mention at pitcher, Avery Rust, who was named to the second team for utility players.

This year, Witt and Rust have been the team’s top two pitchers, Kostel said, adding that Rust has also made an impact with her bat.

A couple of younger player have impressed, Kostel said, including the team’s lone freshman, Regan Jeub, who he said added some pop to the lineup. Sophomore London Moehring has also earned some innings in the circle, according to the coach.

“We’ve really seen them grow through the season,” Kostel said.

 As the season hits the final stretch and Tigard navigates the rest of league play, Kostel said it won’t be easygoing, but thinks his team is ready to compete.

“We have a lot of kids doing their jobs with things like pinch hitting, pinch running,” he said. “They’re doing a lot of little things really well.”

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