Drain — They were seeded seventh in the 2A/1A playoff bracket, hindered in the OSAA computer rankings from their pairings against California teams while the spring conditions impacting Oregon. The Honkers were selected by Elite Oregon Girls to advance to the 2A/1A state championship game, and they took one step closer to that reality when they faced offensive threat North Douglas in the state quarterfinals on Friday in Drain. Led by Tyler McNeley’s star effort, the Honkers are headed back to Oregon’s tallest town with a ticket booked to the 2A/1A semifinals on Tuesday.
On the road and under seeded, Lakeview wasted no time striking on the scoreboard against North Douglas. Bridget Shullanberger started the scoring as the second batter of the game, knocking home Emily Philibert on an RBI single to make it 1-0. After Shullanberger scored on a wild pitch, Jaila Jackson went deep with two outs on the board to extend the lead to 3-0 Honkers, a score that would hold into the bottom of the second inning. With two outs in the frame, North Douglas dropped a surprise bunt from Samantah McDowell, allowing Halli Vaughn to score and putting the Warriors on the board trailing 3-1 after two innings of play. In the top of the third, Annikah Tacchini went deep with a two-out blast to right field, extending the Honkers lead to 5-1 after three innings.
A stalemate offensively ensued for the next few innings, with the teams trading scoring threats but unable to push runs across the plate. Fast forward to the final inning, the Honkers were looking for the nail on the coffin of North Douglas and the ace Tyler McNeley delivered that wish. On a 1-1 count and one out, McNeley drilled it over the right-center field fence for a two-run homer, extending Lakeview’s lead to 7-1 and the Honkers hung on to win by that exact score to advance to Tuesday’s state semifinal against Kennedy. Jackson, McNeley, and Tacchini combined for three homers and five RBI’s offensively for Lakeview, while McNeley also threw up a three-hit, one-run, 14 strikeout gem in the circle to get the Honkers into the semifinals.