AMITY – It took eight years, but Amity finally got the best of Dayton in softball.
The Warriors, who hadn't beaten Dayton since 2013, knocked off the visiting Pirates 7-6 on Tuesday in a 3A PacWest Conference game. Senior pitcher Gabby Rolston drove in the winning run with a walk-off sacrifice ground ball, ending Dayton's seven-game winning streak.
Amity, which went 0-8 in the conference in 2019, improved to 6-2 overall, 5-2 in the PacWest. The Warriors are in a tight battle at the top of the conference standings with perennial champion Dayton (7-3, 7-3) and Yamhill-Carlton (8-4, 6-1).
Amity goes to Dayton for a doubleheader Friday.
“It’s nice because they’ve always whooped us,” Rolston said. “Every year since freshman year they’ve whooped us, so it was nice to barely beat them. But we still beat them.”
The Warriors built a 6-2 lead through four innings off Dayton freshman pitcher Brin Shilhanek-Opp, who was pressed into starting duty when senior Maddie Fluke tweaked her hand while batting in the top of the first inning.
Rolston picked up the win in the circle and drove in three runs. Sophomore Kylie Kendall had four RBIs for Amity.
“It was one of our more important games of the season, so this was a great win for us,” Kendall said. “Their pitcher got hurt in the beginning, so that set them back a little bit. Once they brought in their new pitcher, we stayed mellow enough to keep our heads in the game and do well.”
Shilhanek-Opp, who struck out five, said she was “really, really nervous.”
“But I was going to try my best, and I did,” she said. “I can definitely work on my speed because it’s nowhere near Maddie and nowhere near (Rolston), so that’s something I need to work on in the future, and some spots and stuff ...”
Dayton got within 6-4 in the sixth inning on a two-RBI hit by sophomore Jaeden Oliveira and pulled even at 6-6 in the top of the seventh on a two-run homer by senior catcher Jodi deSmet.
“A lot of players moved around, and I’m really proud of how we preserved and battled back,” deSmet said. “Even though we didn’t come out with the win, I’m still proud of where we are. And we’ll come back and get them Friday.”
Sophomore Megan Scharf led off Amity's seventh inning with a single. With one out, freshman Jessie Plummer reached base and senior Kaitlyn Graham walked to load the bases, setting up Rolston's go-ahead sacrifice.
Amity was able to thwart Dayton's comeback.
“I think when the score was getting closer, just keep our bats alive and keep our heads up,” Rolston said.