The Bend North Majors All-Stars softball team is headed to the championship game of the Northwest Regional. It comes after a wild semifinal rally against the team from Washington that included nearly 30 minutes of umpire reviews in the final half-inning.
One of those reviews appeared to cost Bend North the game — and their season — while a second review kept them alive.
Washington scored three runs in the top of the 6th inning to take a 6-3 lead.
Bend North — a team that described themselves as a “close-knit family” — rallied. They closed it to 6-4 with one out and runners at second and third.
That’s when a fly ball off the bat of Jessie Berry went over the head of the Washington leftfielder. The runner at third scored, followed by Claire Phillips from second.
Berry tried to stretch it into a triple, but was thrown out at third base for the second out.
That’s when Washington challenged, believing Phillips failed to touch third before scoring. After the umpires spent about 15 minutes reviewing it, the game resumed with no indication the play was overturned.
But just to be safe, Washington threw the ball to third base to check. The umpire called an out, indicating Phillips did not touch third. That was the final out and a 6-5 Washington win.
That caused Bend North coach Kevin Guiney to issue his own challenge. Again, the umpires spent several minutes discussing and reviewing before ultimately ruling that Phillips’ run counted.
So with two outs and nobody on, Maddie Switzer walked. Then Sylvie Seaton hit a ball up the middle. It went off the glove of the second baseman and into shallow centerfield. Switzer advanced to third.
The ball was thrown back to the pitcher who then tried to get Seaton out at second, but the ball went back into centerfield. Switzer came in to score the game-winner.
Bend North ties it, then loses it, then wins it!
On to the regional championship tomorrow night
What a wild game (inning) pic.twitter.com/BGMjV3e9AE
— Brian Rathbone (@ByBrianRathbone) July 28, 2023
Bend North heads to the regional championship against Montana on Friday. The winner goes to the Little League World Series in North Carolina next week.
Montana defeated Bend North 7-2 in the first semifinal on Wednesday.