By Christopher Halsey
Herald Sports Editor
HERMISTON A fine softball season came to an abrupt end Friday for Hermiston High School as the Bulldogs fell in the second round to McNary in Salem 7-4.
Hermiston, who posted a 24-4 season record and were 13-2 in Intermountain Conference play to share the title with Redmond, opened the playoffs with a 3-2 10-inning win over Benson Tech.
The Bulldogs claimed a share of their sixth consecutive league title and earned a post-season home game last week against Benson.
For five consecutive years Hermiston has advanced to the second round with a win in the first round, but they have not won a second round game since 1998, a year they reached the semi-final round.
Hermiston 3, Benson 2 (10 inn.)
Facing a 2-0 deficit in the sixth inning and a first round playoff loss for the first time since 1996, Hermiston rallied for a win over Benson.
Seniors Beth Franke and Erin Bequette teamed with junior Adrian Herman to key the win.
Franke kept Hermistons season alive with 2-out, full count, bases empty single in the bottom of the seventh inning. Bequette followed with a single and Herman doubled to right to tie the game.
Neither team scored in the next two innings and the International tie-breaker was instituted in the 10th inning, where each team started the inning with a runner (the last out the previous inning) on second base.
Franke started the 10th inning on second for Hermiston and moved to third on a single by Bequette. Herman earned her 15th pitching win of the single when she hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored the winning run.
Bensons only runs were unearned and came in the third inning. Klee opened the inning with a walk against Hoeye. Mari Nelson then hit a weak pop-up to Hoeye, who dropped the ball and was unable to throw the ball to Herman at first in time to retire the runner. Herman then tried to get Klee at second, but threw the ball over all defenders into the outfield, allowing both runs.
McNary 7, Hermiston 4
Three hits, two errors and three runs helped McNary to an early lead against Herman in the second game of the playoffs and they built a 7-0 lead by the bottom of the seventh when Hermiston finally struck back.
Hermiston had three errors in the first two innings and got the offense going only in the final inning of play.
The Bulldog offense had only four hits over the first six innings, but combined for three in the final frame. Lindsey Hector reached on a one out error in the inning and Lori Whittle duplicated the feat ahead of an error theat allowed Hoeye to reach base. Franke then collected her only hit of the game ahead of a triple by Herman.
(For complete coverage and boxscore, see the May 29 edition of The Hermiston Herald)