Ahnika Tryon
Philomath freshman Ahnika Tryon makes a play at shortstop. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Just four games into the season, Philomath High’s softball team found itself in a must-win situation. Although it may seem silly to suggest such a notion, the Warriors needed to turn things around after back-to-back losses if they wanted to remain in contention for an Oregon West Conference title.

Well, the Warriors got it done.

Starting pitcher Kamden Combs put in a quality start, reliever Ahnika Tryon came through late and Reagan Larson hit a sacrifice fly to center in the bottom of the sixth inning to drive in the go-ahead run as Philomath posted a 7-5 victory Wednesday over Cascade.

“We’ve got goals that we’ve set as a team now and the goal was to win league and we can still do it,” PHS coach Travis King said. “We just have to win, we just have to get it going. I think we built some momentum here and hopefully we can carry that over into next week.”

Philomath had built a 5-2 lead going into the sixth inning but Cascade’s Kailee Bode tied it up on one swing with a three-shot to right center. The Warriors responded right away in the bottom half.

Kaili Saathoff opened the sixth by reaching on an error. Saathoff stole second and took third on an error to set up Larson’s sacrifice fly and a 6-5 Philomath lead. Emily King singled on a pop to right field and three batters later, she scored as Tryon reached on an error.

In the top of the seventh, Cascade’s first two batters reached on a single and error. After a flyout, the Cougars moved up their two base runners on a sacrifice bunt. That brought Bode to the plate — the Cascade player who had hit a three-run homer in the sixth. This time around, however, Bode popped up to second base and Ashlynn Barron made the catch to end the game.

“Very energetic, they wanted it,” King said about his team. “We’ve shored up quite a bit of our defensive issues and everything’s starting to come together.”

Combs went 5-2/3 innings despite battling a pulled quad muscle and allowed six hits and two walks with six strikeouts. Tryon, who is just a freshman, threw only seven pitches and allowed one hit in 1-1/3 innings. She ended up as the pitcher of record for the win.

“She’s hitting her spots good,” King said. “We are working on a couple of other pitches for her during the week and we’ll see if we can’t add a little bit more to her arsenal to help her out.”

Philomath’s Reagan Larson made her first start at catcher. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Philomath went up 2-0 in the second inning. Combs hit a one-out double to center and two batters later, Mia Bennett singled to drive in Cassidy Lewis, who went in as a courtesy runner for Combs.

Tryon later scored on a steal of home to put the Warriors up by two runs.

Cascade tied the game in the fourth inning with two runs. The Warriors regained the lead in the bottom half. Saathoff hit a two-out single to drive in Bennett, who had reached earlier on a walk. Presley Reichhuber also scored on an error to put the Warriors on top, 4-2.

In the fifth, Cascade errors led to Philomath’s fifth run. Melanie Baldwin reached on an error and she later scored on another error on a Kyla Berger grounder.

PHS second baseman Ashlynn Barron makes the catch from Melanie Baldwin at first base on the back end of a double play. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

For the game, Philomath had five hits — those spread out among five different players. Defensively, the Warriors had a double play to end the third inning. Baldwin at first base caught a line drive and threw to Ashlynn Barron to double off the runner.

“We pretty much had the momentum through the game,” King said. “I think we’re starting to come together as a group and beginning to fine-tune that chemistry that needs to happen.”

Philomath 7, Cascade 5
Wednesday, April 21 at Philomath HS
Cascade (3-2)00020305
Philomath (2-2)020212x7
Campbell, ss2100
Hilfiker, cf4010
Bangert, 1b4113
Bales, 3b3110
Jeppsen, lf3110
Van Agtmael, eh3010
Wallman, p4012
Gramzow, c1000
Ambrosek, c1000
Bode, 2b4110
McKenzie, pr0000
Collins, rf0000
Saathoff, cf4111
Larson, c3001
King, 3b4110
Baldwin, 1b4110
Combs, p3010
Galvan, ss0000
Tryon, ss-p4100
Bennett, eh3111
Berger, lf3000
Reichhuber, rf2100
Lewis, pr0100
Barron, 2b0000
DP: Philomath 1. LOB: Cascade 10, Philomath 9. 2B: Baldwin, Combs. HR: Bangert.
Wallman L657237
Tryon W1.110000
Harrisburg 16, Philomath 6 (5)
Wednesday, April 21 at Philomath HS
Philomath’s JV team goes to 1-2 on the season. … Both losses came this week against Harrisburg. … Kelsey Olsen went 2 for 2, Emma Hood was 2 for 3 and Macy Freeman finished 2 for 3 to lead Philomath at the plate. … Mackenzie Hiner and Elizabeth Morales had doubles. … Adrianna Hunter (3-2/3 innings) and Hiner (1 inning) both saw time in the circle. … The JV team is scheduled to play Thursday at Woodburn.