Eugene — In a battle of the senior aces, Wilsonville starter and Michigan commit Maddie Erickson squared up against Pendleton starter and Dixie State commit Sauren Garton in a wet 5A championship battle at the University of Oregon on Saturday. The schools split a doubleheader earlier this season in Wilsonville, marking the game as a rubber match for all the marbles. The Buckaroos entered seeking their fourth state title, while Wilsonville was aiming for their first blue trophy.
Leading off for Wilsonville, Erickson smashed a liner off Garton that was dropped in the outfield to open the game, immediately threatening Pendleton in the first inning. Garton settled in after the first pitch, striking out a pair and inducing a groundout to escape the inning unscathed. Erickson got off to a quick start in her half of the first inning, sitting down Pendleton in order with a pair of strikeouts. Garton struck out the side in the second inning, while Melanie Boatman picked up the first hit of the game for Pendleton in the bottom of the inning. However, Erickson struck out two more hitters to end the inning with a pair of goose eggs on the scoreboard. In the third, Wilsonville got Talia Valdez and Erickson on with a pair of walks, but Garton ended the inning with a strikeout to maintain a shutout for Pendleton. In the bottom of the third, Daisy Jenness hit a leadoff single and Pendleton loaded the bases after a pair of walks with only one out. Erickson induced a pair of groundouts that ended the inning for Wilsonville, escaping from a bases loaded jam to keep it scoreless.
Still rolling along for the Buckaroos, Garton sat down Wilsonville in order to maintain her no-hitter after four innings of work. After Erickson struck out a pair in her half of the frame, Josie Jenness hit a single that turned into a double on a defensive miscue. Her sister Daisy Jenness would deliver her home on the next at-bat, drilling an RBI double to left field and opening the scoring with a 1-0 lead over Wilsonville after four innings. The Wildcats would get two more baserunners in the top of the fifth against Garton on walks, however she would strike out another trio of hitters to get out of the inning with a 1-0 lead. Erickson recovered from her fourth inning by sitting down Pendleton in order to keep it a 1-0 score after five innings. Garton picked up two more strikeouts in the top of the sixth, and she would get insurance when Faith Broadfoot scored on a misplay in right field by Wilsonville, making it a 2-0 Pendleton game entering the final inning.
Being unable to generate any offense against Garton, Anna Jardin came in as a pinch hitter and broke up her no-hitter with one out in the seventh inning. However, it simply didn’t matter as Garton struck out the side and sealed Pendleton’s fourth state title in school history with a 2-0 victory over Wilsonville in Eugene. Garton would finish with an insane one hit, 17 strikeout shutout in her final game as a Buckaroo to deliver home a state title to Pendleton. After the trophies came out, Pendleton seniors Sauren Garton, Faith Broadfoot, Jaden Samp, Daisy Jenness, Brie Youncs, and Chloe Taber all graduated on the field at Jane Sanders Stadium, receiving their diplomas in their cap and gowns with state championship medals wrapped around their necks. Truly a perfect ending to such a special season for Pendleton in 2022.