Grangeville softball team rallies in seventh inning to steal district title from Orofino

May 10—OROFINO — It didn't matter that Grangeville quickly fell behind by seven runs, nor did it faze the Bulldogs that they still trailed the top-seeded Orofino Maniacs by two with just two outs remaining in top of the seventh.

As long as the pitches were coming, there was still a chance to win a 2A district softball championship.

Abbie Frei's two-RBI double down the third-base line scored Siena Wagner and Makenna York for the tying and go-ahead runs in the seventh, and Grangeville would go on to win 11-9 to claim the district crown Thursday in Orofino.

"We've been down and we could've easily folded up, but these girls are just resilient," Grangeville coach Jerime Zimmerman said. "They'll just keep chipping away until the very last out and that's what you saw today."

Orofino rebounded to defeat Kellogg 30-6 in the third-place game. Both Grangeville and Orofino will advance to play in the 2A state tournament May 16-18 back at Orofino Champion Park.

Grangeville's big comeback

Orofino (18-8) put its first five batters of the game on base with hits and Rilee Diffin later hammered a two-run homer in the second to put the top-seeded Maniacs up 7-0 through two innings.

Then, Grangeville (17-7) settled in.

A single by the Bulldogs' nine-hole hitter, York, kick-started a monster six-run third inning that cut Orofino's advantage to 7-6. Grangeville batted around the lineup in that big inning.

"You gotta do it one at a time," Zimmerman said of the comeback attempt. "You can't get them all back in one swing, so we just teach them line drives, get on base, good things happen when the ball is in play and just keep chipping away."

Orofino held steady for the next three innings, leading 9-7 going into the pivotal final frame.

Adri Anderson dropped a single into center field to start the inning.

Four batters and one out later, Frei came up to the plate and smacked a hard grounder down the third-base line into left field to score two runs and give Grangeville its first lead when it mattered most.

"She's been our leadoff hitter all year long," Zimmerman said of Frei. "She seems to always find her way on base. ... got some fast runners behind her, scored a couple runs and that was the biggest difference (in the game)."

A leader keeps 'em steady

Grangeville senior pitcher Mattie Thacker fanned five batters and walked just one in a complete-game performance in the circle for Grangeville.

One of those strikeouts came in the seventh, when she also induced a pop out and a ground out for the final outs of the ballgame. Then the celebration was on.

Zimmerman said Thacker was a catcher when she first joined the program as a sophomore, but when the team needed a pitcher, she rose to the challenge.

"She's been voted unanimous captain two straight years," Zimmerman said. "It says a lot about her character."

Stat leaders

Frei went 3-for-5 with three runs in addition to her clutch two RBI, Anderson went a perfect 4-for-4 with two runs and York added two runs and two RBI on two hits for Grangeville.

Thacker had two RBI of her own.

Jaelyn Miller paced Orofino at the plate with a 4-for-5 showing with three runs.

Diffin had four RBI on three hits and Mylie Zenner tallied three RBI on two hits for the Maniacs.

Orofino bounces back in third-place game

It wasn't long before the heartbroken Maniacs had to lace up their cleats again for a nightcap game against Kellogg.

The Maniacs easily dispatched the Wildcats by 24 runs to seal a spot at State.

Diffin homered for the second straight game, Hanna Johnson scored four runs and Miller's three hits brought her day's total to a team-high seven.

But the best batting performance of the game went to Brynn Hanna, who batted 4-for-4 with a home run, a double and seven RBI for the offense-happy Maniacs.

"That first one was a heartbreaker," Orofino coach Sean Diffin said. "(But) these girls had a goal. We have a state tournament in our home town, so they didn't want to miss the opportunity to be able to do that."


Grangeville 11, Orofino 9

Grangeville 006 001 4—11 11 2

Orofino 342 000 0—9 15 5

Mattie Thacker and Kinzley Adams; Kennedy Coleman and Rilee Diffin. W—Thacker; L—Coleman.

Grangeville hits — Adri Anderson 4, Abbie Frei 3 (2B), Makenna York 2, Madalyn Green (2B), Adams.

Orofino hits — Jaelyn Miller 4, Diffin 3 (HR, 2 2B), Mylie Zenner 2, Brynn Hanna 2, Livia Johnson 2, Reece Deyo, Coleman.

Third-place game (winner to State)

Orofino 30, Kellogg 6

Kellogg 040 2—6 9 9

Orofino 0(11)3 (16)—30 21 5

Macy Jerome and Brielle Hei; Hanna Johnson and Diffin. W—H. Johnson; L—Jerome.

Kellogg hits — Jerome 3, Kalyca Card 2 (2B), Neveah Schabell 2, Alex Karst, Kelsey Dechand.

Orofino hits — Brynn Hanna 4 (HR, 2B), Miller 3 (2 2B), Diffin 3 (HR), Coleman 3 (2B), Zenner 2, Deyo 2 (2B), Virginia Cafferty, L. Johnson, Dayna Maetche, Kristen McCarthy.

Wiebe may be contacted at (208) 848-2260, or on Twitter @StephanSports.