The McNary express derailed one game shy of its ultimate destination.
On Tuesday, Grants Pass edged the Lady Celts, 4-3, by scoring the winning run with two outs in the seventh inning in semifinal action from the OSAA Class 6A state playoffs.
With the win, the Lady Cavers meet Sunset in Saturday’s title game at Oregon State.
With the loss, McNary’s season ends with 25 wins in 28 games.
Grants Pass rode the strong arm of senior Morgan Barnes to victory. The pitcher, who is headed to Bosie State, struck out 12 of the first 16 McNary batters she faced.
“We struggled for five-and-a-third-innings,” said McNary Coach Jeff Auvinen.
But then Genetta Bennett singled to end Barnes’ bid for a perfect game. Hannah Bouska followed with a home run and just like that McNary led 2-1. It was Bouska’s third home run of the playoffs.
Grants Pass went up 3-2 in their half of the sixth.
“We did not play very well defensively and gave them the lead right back,” said Auvinen. “To our credit, though, we scraped out the tying run in the seventh.”
In the seventh, Hailey Decker drew a leadoff walk and then stole second. A Taylor Jones infield single moved Decker to third. She then scored on a squeeze by Brook Ross.
“Then (Grants Pass) won it on a two-out RBI single to right in the bottom of the inning,” said Auvinen. “It was a very intense softball game, and it would have been nice to be the home team in this situation.”
Auvinen added: “We battled throughout and I couldn’t be more proud of this group of kids.”
This game figured to be a pitchers’ dual.
Barnes entered Tuesday’s game on a role. The senior began the playoffs by no-hitting Barlow and then held Jesuit and Canby to two hits each. McNary touched her for four hits.
The Cavers, ranked third in the state, outscored their first three playoff opponents 26 to 0.
Erin Hento started all four playoff games for McNary. The second-ranked Celts advanced to the semifinals with wins over Gresham, Rex Putnam and Aloha.
In the team’s 7-1 win over Aloha, Ross lashed a three-run double and Hannah Bouska scored her team’s first three runs to lead the Lady Celts to the win in the quarterfinals.
McNary was up 2-0 before scoring five runs in the fifth inning. The big blow was Ross’s double.
Bouska doubled and tripled in the game.
The game was played Saturday, May 29, in Beaverton.
McNary’s playoff run included a 9-3 win over Rex Putnum on Wednesday, May 26, and an 8-1 win over Gresham on Saturday, May 22.