Shortstop Ashlynn Barron tries to put the tag on a Cascade base runner during Thursday's game. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Coming into Thursday afternoon’s Oregon West Conference matchup against Cascade, Warriors softball coach Travis King felt his squad could play with the Cougars. Sure, Cascade came into the contest sitting at No. 2 in the OSAA rankings and hadn’t lost a league game, but he believed a solid effort could result in a key victory.

Unfortunately for the Warriors, they couldn’t break through and were limited to just two hits while committing eight errors in an 8-0 loss.

“We’re just not making the adjustments that we need,” King said after coming out of a somber postgame meeting with his players in center field.

Philomath was coming off a 12-7 victory on Wednesday at Newport.

Cascade freshman Malia Scanlan, the game’s second hitter, set the tone early in Thursday’s game by hitting a two-run home run. The Cougars (14-3 overall, 11-0 Oregon West) had just five hits in the contest and six of their runs were unearned.

The two hits for Philomath (6-8, 5-4) came in the third on a Jenae Traglia single and in the fifth on a Mackenzie Hauck double. Hauck attempted to score on a play that Traglia put in play but was thrown out at the plate.

Right fielder Kyla Berger focuses on making a catch. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The Warriors are out of contention for the Oregon West Conference title but will try to finish strong to position themselves for a play-in game.

“We are so young … it’s a matter of getting the kids to buy in,” King said. “If they buy in and we start doing what we know we have the capability of doing, we can turn this thing around. Obviously, that’s a tough road.”

Philomath enters the stretch run without two starters — senior catcher Reagan Larson, who hasn’t played at all this spring after suffering an injury in basketball, and junior Mia Bennett, who broke her thumb in practice.

“It’s tough because you lose a leader like Reagan — I mean, she was a leader on the field as a catcher,” King said. “The thing is, we could have moved some things around, too, having her. And obviously not having Mia in the outfield is huge because she had a lot of range and could track things down and we’re struggling a little bit there.”

The team did add Alsea transfer Hannah Beck to the roster.

“We’re trying to get her into the swing of things … she missed a month of practice coming into it,” King said. “We moved her to the outfield … we’re lean out there in the outfield.”

So, the program will continue to develop its roster.

“That’s the whole goal with this youthful group — finding a permanent home for them where that’s where they fit and they succeed there … that’s our struggle,” King said.

Ahnika Tryon connects with the ball during Thursday’s game against Cascade. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

In Wednesday’s win over Newport, the Warriors scored in every inning but the seventh. Philomath had just four hits in the game — three of those for extra bases — but nine others got aboard on walks and two were hit by pitches.

The Warriors scored three in the first inning. Remington hit a two-run triple and then later scored herself on a steal of home. In the second, Philomath added another run when Jenae Traglia walked and later scored on a ground out by Kyla Berger.

Philomath went up 8-2 in the third without a hit — scoring runs on an error, fielder’s choice, two passed balls and a bases-loaded walk. Another run scored in the fourth when Ahnika Tryon hit a double and later scored. Philomath also scored a run in the fifth when Presley Reichhuber reached on an error and stole second, third and home.

The team’s other two runs came in the sixth. MacKenzie Hauck came off the bench and hit a one-run double and then scored herself on an error.

Remington threw 4-1/3 innings, allowing two hits, three walks and no earned runs with 10 strikeouts. Mackenzie Hiner relieved and threw 2-2/3 innings with two hits, no walks and no earned runs allowed with four strikeouts.

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.