GRANITE FALLS — Trailing 4-1 going into the top of the seventh against Granite Falls on Thursday, Archbishop Murphy junior captain Gemma Miller had a simple message for her team.
“She told everyone not to keep their heads down and that we’re going to go out and do this,” said Murphy head coach Stephanie Harmon.
Miller backed up her words by leading off the top of the seventh inning with a single that spearheaded a four-run rally and the Wildcats snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-4 Cascade Conference win.
Miller finished 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Her seventh-inning hit started a string of five Wildcats safely reaching base. Anna Whitehouse followed with a walk and Maureen Kelly singled over the outstreached glove of the Tigers shortstop to load the bases. Senior Madeline Johnson’s base hit back up the middle scored one to make the score 4-2 and Jessica Lucas tied the game with a two-run single. Starting pitcher Baylee Robertson helped her own cause with an RBI groundout to push across the deciding run.
“I told the girls that we’ve been up going into the seventh and we know what it feels like when the other team comes back and that there was no reason we couldn’t do the same,” said Harmon. “Each girl (in the seventh) went up and did exactly what we needed to do.”
Kelsey Bechtholdt led the Tigers offense, going 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Caitlyn Munce and Bechtholdt hit back-to-back triples in the fourth. Emily Walbon added an RBI double in the first to account for the Tigers opening run.
Despite the loss, Granite Falls (8-5 league, 9-6 overall) remains in possession of the third and final 2A district playoff spot. Sultan and Archbishop Murphy (5-7 league, 5-9 overall) are also in the hunt. The Wildcats have six games left and Harmon believes the playoffs are still possible.
“We gotta get wins and we need some of the other top teams to have crucial losses,” said Harmon. “I think if we can get four of six it would help us, four of six would make it close. Anything less than that is unreasonable (to make the playoffs). I would prefer to get six of six and not have to worry about it.”
At Granite Falls H.S.
Baylee Robertson and Allyson Matriotti. Lauren Harding and Lacey Downs. WP—Robertson. LP—Harding. 2B—Gemma Miller (AM), Mikayla Engstrom (GF), Harding, Emily Walbon (GF). 3B—Caitlyn Munce (GF), Kelsey Bechtholdt (GF). Records—Archbishop Murphy 5-7 league, 5-9 overall. Granite Falls 8-5, 9-6.