Hope springs eternal for Siuslaw softball

Left: Junior outfielder Paige Prociw, #21, plays for both the varsity and junior varsity Viking softball teams. Here, she awaits the pitch in the outfield versus Junction City on April 15. Right: Abby Riggs, #9, is a freshman on the Siuslaw softball team but is already one of the team’s top bats. She’s seen here reviewing the signals from the first base coach in a game against Junction City on April 15. (Photos by Zac Burtt/Siuslaw News)

Viks continue to battle despite lack of wins

April 19, 2022 — Last week, Siuslaw began the Sky-Em League softball season in Eugene.

The fresh start was nice — but not nice was the fact that the winless Viks would start their league season on April 13 against the #1 softball team in the entire 4A division, Marist Catholic.

To add to the challenge, the Viks would face Spartan starting pitcher senior Malia Williams, the top pitcher in her division.

Coming into the game, Williams had struck out the last 19 batters she had faced. Her streak continued as she struck out all nine Vikings who came to the plate and Marist won 17-0.

Those nine strikeouts brought Williams’ consecutive strikeout run to 28, which is a new Oregon high school record. The previous record was 21 held by three players: Marlys Handley of Churchill (1984), Denise Jones of Oregon City (1985) and Ashley Birdsong of Taft (2005).

Next, on April 15, Siuslaw hosted Junction City for a doubleheader.

The Vikings scored 4 runs in game one, their third highest total of the year, but still fell 22-4. Game two was all Junction City, 17-0.

The Viks fall to 0-3 in conference play and 0-8 overall.

Siuslaw hosted Cottage Grove on Tuesday after press deadlines. On Friday the Vikings will travel east on Highway 126 to face Elmira/Mapleton.

Elmira/Mapleton is a co-op team, meaning they have players from two high schools on their roster. The only non-Elmira player on the team is Mapleton freshman Morgan Milbrett. She is scheduled to be the starting pitcher for the Falcons in game one and, even as a freshman, is a valuable member of the squad.

“Morgan has been playing on [Elmira] area teams for a few years,” said Elmira softball coach Paul Witt. “She has been our primary pitcher this season. Morgan is a great competitor and works very hard at trying to improve her game. She is an even better teammate and has fit right into our group. It says a lot about her dedication and work ethic to be able to travel so far to be a part of our team, not to mention the dedication of her family.”

Siuslaw and Elmira/Mapleton will play a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. on April 22.

The Siuslaw baseball team opened league play with a Sky-Em League doubleheader at home against Junction City on April 15.

The Viks came in on a four-game losing streak after a hot start to the season. Their woes continued when they dropped both games to the Tigers, 5-1 and 11-2. 

In game one, senior pitcher Ethan Halpin had a solid outing when he went 6 1/3 innings, giving up no earned runs and striking out six in the Viks’ 5-1 loss. Halpin’s ERA sits at a stellar 2.19 for the season and he has 24 strikeouts in just 22 1/3 innings pitched.

Though 11-2 was not the score they were hoping for, there were some positives in game two.

Freshman Joel Sissel had a great second game for Siuslaw.

He came in to pitch in the 5th inning and Junction City did not get another hit. He also struck out three in his three innings pitched.

At the plate, Sissel was 2 for 2 with a walk. Sissel is batting .348 for the year, an impressive number for a player playing his first season of high school baseball.

The Viks faced Marist in Eugene on Monday and hosted Cottage Grove on Tuesday, both after press deadlines. Next up for the Viks is a doubleheader on Friday at Elmira/Triangle Lake. First pitch for game one is at 3 p.m.

For those that can’t make the trip to the valley, KCST 106.9 FM’s Wayne Sharp will be on hand to provide play-by-play for both games.