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A season like no other for Santiam softball

It was a season of superlatives for Santiam softball.

The Wolverines, in their seventh season under coach Greg Grenbemer, turned in a perfect 12-0 season in Class 2A-1A Special District II and won the first softball league title in school history.

Santiam finished 21-4 overall and advanced to the state quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion Grant Union/Prairie City.

The Santiam softball players and coaches. The team won the league title for the first time in school history.  SUBMITTED
The Santiam softball players and coaches. The team won the league title for the first time in school history. Submitted Photo

“We set that goal early,” Grenbemer told The Canyon Weekly of the league title aspirations. “We knew we had a good shot at it, but it was a definite maybe until you go out and do it.”

Grenbemer was named district coach of the year for the second consecutive season and his senior pitcher/catcher duo of McKenna Dodge and McKayla Dodge received the top individual awards. 

McKenna, who went 11-0 in league play, was named pitcher of the year and twin sister McKayla, her catcher, earned player of the year honors.

Both players plan to play at Chemeketa Community College in Salem next season. This was their first full season as the primary pitcher and catcher for the squad.

“I wish I had three more years with them,” Grenbemer said. 

The Dodge sisters and center fielder Kasey Solus, were the lone seniors on the squad. Solus patrolled the center field spot for three years and was a unanimous first team all-district choice.

“It’s going to be tough to replace those three,” Grenbbemer said, adding about Solus that “it was one of the few times in which you could put someone out there in center for three years and she just stays there.”

Five underclassmen also earned all-district honors: left fielder Haili Becker was a first-teamer, as was first baseman Brooklyn Massey and infielders Boston Flores and Linsey Briley. Infielder Madie Allen was a second-team choice. 

Grenbemer has advanced the Wolverines to the playoffs in six of his seven seasons and noted that it has been gratifying “getting the girls to play and bringing back the softball program. We just weren’t much of a softball school up until now.”

As noted above, Grenbemer gave a lot of the credit to the seniors, Solus and the Dodge sisters.

“It was strong senior leadership,” he said. “That can be a tough thing to have. They led by example and by their actions.”

The softball season put a close to what has been a banner school year for girls sports at Santiam. 

In the fall, Alicia Boyd’s volleyball squad advanced to the Class 2A tournament in Redmond. Hannah Thompson’s girls hoops squad fell one game short of state, and the girls track squad, led by runner and jumper Averie Peterson, finished 10th at the 2A track meet.

Many athletes played on two or three of the teams. Here is the list:

Boston Flores: volleyball, basketball and softball

Madie Allen: volleyball, basketball and softball

Brooklyn Massey: volleyball, basketball and softball

Aubrey Ohrt: volleyball, basketball and softball

Averie Peterson: volleyball, basketball and track and field

Maizy Downey: volleyball and basketball

McKenna Dodge: volleyball and softball

McKayla Dodge: volleyball and softball

Kasey Solus: volleyball and softball

Reese Longfellow: basketball and track and field

Linsey Briley: volleyball and softball

 

SCIO SOFTBALL: It was heartbreak in the state title game for the second year in a row for Scio softball. 

Scio Loggers

The Loggers, who entered the state tournament ranked No. 1 and took a 22-game winning streak into the May 31 final, fell 9-1 to South Umpqua of Myrtle Creek at Jane Sanders Stadium in Eugene.

Scio, which finished 25-2, also was runner-up in 2023, when the Loggers lost to Burns/Crane 1-0 in 12 innings.

This season Scio scored in the bottom of the first but suffered a seven-run explosion in the fifth inning that turned the tide. The No. 2 Lancers, who finished 27-3, struck for seven hits against Scio ace Myleigh Cooper, who entered the game with a 0.44 earned average. The Loggers also committed two of their four errors in the inning.

Cooper, who pitched a no-hitter and struck out 15 in the semifinals against Burns/Crane, finished with 13 strikeouts and also scored the Loggers’ lone run on an RBI single by Macy Johnson.

“Myleigh pitched great, she still had 13 strikeouts,” Scio coach Jim Mask told The Canyon Weekly. “It was just that the balls they did hit hard found holes. We hit some balls hard but at people. They are a very good hitting team and played great defense against us.”

South Umpqua played error-free ball and totaled 11 hits against Cooper. Lancers pitcher Reaghan Gilbert hurled a complete game, allowed just four hits and struck out five. She did not allow a Loggers baserunner to get past second after Cooper scored in the first.

Eight of the Scio starters are underclassmen, with slick-fielding second baseman Khloe Free the lone senior.

“We will miss Khloe, she became a great infielder through hard work,” Mask said, while adding about the future “I am very excited about this team going forward.  We have a bunch of hard working players that will come back better than ever next year.”

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