Grizzlies make AHS history

Well after Samantha Gilbert's catch and throw sealed it, after the high fives ceased, after the screams died down, the Grizzlies filed back onto the field one last time, all 14 of them, pony tails flopping, and took a victory lap. Nobody told them it was a jog 29 years in the making.

Playing with poise beyond its years, the young, wide-eyed Ashland High softball team buried Silverton with three quick runs in the first inning and rode Bella Pribyl's arm the rest of the way to bag the first playoff win in team history, 5-1, Friday at North Mountain Park.

Amanda Good shook off a broken thumb to knock a two-run double in the first and Pribyl struck out six and walked two to earn the complete game victory as the Grizzlies (14-13) earned a second-round date with Northwest Oregon Conference champion Glencoe on Tuesday.

"It feels amazing, I didn't even know it would feel like this," said Ashland catcher Kylie Cantrell, who helped put away the Silver Foxes (16-11) with a two-run single in the fifth.

Cantrell, one of just three upperclassmen on the Grizzlies' roster, went 1-for-2 with three RBIs while Good, a sophomore, went 2-for-3 with two RBIs to lead Ashland at the plate. The Grizzlies also benefited from four Silverton errors, including two in the first inning that helped Ashland grab the early momentum.

"I don't know if it was nerves or the travel," said Silverton coach Ralph Cortez, whose team finished the season on a six-game losing streak. "We were hoping for something much better here We just didn't play our best defense in the end (of the season)."

Silverton's wheels didn't completely fall off in the first, but the ride was a wobbly one.

After Gilbert reached on a one-out fielding error, Hayley Ross singled, putting runners on first and third for Good, Ashland's cleanup hitter. While waiting to bat, Good devised a simple game plan against Silverton starter Leah Cortez, an off-speed pitcher who allowed four earned runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings.

"I told myself before getting into the box, wait for it, sit on it and kill it," Good said.

The strategy was good, but the execution was even better because lame thumb and all, Good promptly made the Lady Foxes pay for their mistake by lining a missile into left-center field, scoring both Gilbert and Ross. Good moved to third on the throw home and scored moments later when Cantrell grounded into a 6-4 fielder's choice.

A comfortable lead in her back pocket, Pribyl breezed through the next two innings before running into some trouble in the fourth. Jessica Reis' RBI single cut Ashland's lead to 3-1, and a single and a walk moments later loaded the bases with one out.

Pribyl didn't blink. Instead, the hard-throwing sophomore got Luci Field to pop out to first before closing the door with a resounding four-pitch strikeout of Taylor Ozuna.

That wasn't Ashland's only clutch performance on defense. The Grizzlies, making just their fourth playoff appearance since softball became an OSAA sport in 1979, did not commit an error.

"We just have heart and we have a lot of want for it," Good said.

Ashland added two insurance runs in the fifth on a walk and three singles, including Cantrell's bases-loaded, line drive to center.

Pribyl took care of the rest, retiring nine of Silverton's last 10 batters. Ashland's ace devoured the top of the Silver Foxes' batting lineup. Silverton's top five batters finished 2-for-12 with four Ks.

Gilbert, Ashland's second baseman, had the honor of recording the final out, throwing out Megan Delapp to clinch the historic win. Jumps and hugs followed, but there was no pile-up on the mound for the Grizzlies, who now turn their attention to one of the best teams in the state.

The Crimson Tide (20-6) is ranked No. — the BCS standings and enters the second-round contest on a 10-game winning streak. If the Grizzlies are intimidated, they weren't showing it Friday.

"It's just like when we beat Crater," Ashland head coach Misty Potochnik said, referring to an early-season upset. "We can beat any team on any day. In the game of softball, it doesn't matter if you're a No. — team or a No. 4 team. It could happen.

"Without a doubt, Glencoe is tough. But, we're young and so what. We just go after it. There's nothing to lose now."

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Sports editor can be reached at 482-3456 x 224 or joe.

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