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Makenna Reid and Karen Spadafora: A storybook final game together for legendary Tigard softball battery

“It was a surreal moment. We’ve been dreaming about this forever, and it’s really good to finally see it come true.”
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By Dan Brood 

It could easily be said that they’re the heart and soul of Tigard softball.

It’s been that way for a long, long, long time — from Tigard youth softball, to Tigard Little League softball, to Tigard High School softball. 

For all those many years, Makenna Reid and Karen Spadafora have been proudly wearing the green jerseys, representing Tigard on various softball diamonds. 

On Tuesday, they played their final game together wearing Tigard green. And, wow, did they ever go out with a bang.

Following their final game together, the emotional Reid and Spadafora were celebrating — and it was a championship celebration.

With Reid, a left-handed pitcher, and Spadafora, her batterymate at catcher, helping lead the way, the Tigers tipped Three Rivers League rival Oregon City 1-0 in a dramatic, 10-inning, nail-biting Class 6A state championship thriller at Jane Sanders Stadium in Eugene.

“There were so many different emotions,” Spadafora said while wiping away tears of joy after the game. “It was a surreal moment. We’ve been dreaming about this forever, and it’s really good to finally see it come true.”

“It’s just a group of girls that have known each other for so long, and we’ve been playing together for so long,” Reid said. “All the seniors, it’s our last game, so we put it all into it.” 

Reid, who will graduate from Tigard High School on Friday, and Spadafora, who is finishing her junior year at Tigard, certainly seemed to put everything they had into the contest — and the Tigers needed every ounce of that effort.

Reid was nothing short of phenomenal in the pitcher’s circle. In her 10 innings, she gave up just three hits while striking out 21 and walking one. Reid’s 21 strikeouts set a state championship game record.

Makenna Reid photo Dan Brood

“It just meant a lot, last game, senior year,” said Reid, who will play college softball for Florida State University. “And I put a lot into this game. I did a lot of hard work before the game. We left early, we did a practice before this. We just wanted to win, to be honest.” 

Spadafora had the huge hit, a hard-hit walk-off single to left field, driving in junior Nozomi Akin from second base for the game’s only run, igniting the Tigers’ state-championship victory celebration.

“I knew she’d come through,” Reid said with a smile. “Either her or Kani (Korok), someone was going to make it happen.”

“It was so much fun,” Spadafora said. “And it’s a mix of emotions, because we’ve been playing together for so long, and I think that winning the state championship together, especially for the seniors, is a really big thing, and it feels really good.”

Reid and Spadafora have been working hard, and working together, for a long time to earn that really good feeling.

They played together in Tigard Little League and in youth softball for the Tigard Blast. Their softball adventures together have also taken them across the country. In the summer of 2015, Reid, then 11, and Spadafora, then 10, along with Tigard Blast teammate Ainsley Davis, who shined for Jesuit this spring, traveled to Kissimmee, Fla., to play in the USA Elite Select All-American Games.

From left to right: Makenna Reid, Karen Spadafora and Ainsley Davis (2015) 

From left to right: Makenna Reid, Karen Spadafora and Ainsley Davis (2015) 

“Doing this with Makenna meant a lot, because we’ve been playing together for so long,” Spadafora said. “It was just very emotional for both of us, especially with this being our last game together.” 

There was another reason for all the emotions for Reid and Spadafora — their families.

Reid, as the Class 4A state championship game between Cascade and Marist Catholic was going on earlier Tuesday, was leaning on the railing of the upper deck of Jane Sanders Stadium, overlooking the field, as she talked to her dad, Chris Reid. After the dramatic finish in the Class 6A state championship game, early in the celebration, Reid made sure to go to the grandstands to get a hug from her father.

“My dad’s a good guy, and I’m going to college soon, Sunday,” Makenna Reid said. “So, that hug from my dad meant a lot.”

Spadafora comes from a family that has been a part of Tigard athletics for a long time. Her older brother, Jake, was a baseball and football player at Tigard. Her older sister, Hannah, was a power-hitting Tigard Little League and Tigard High School softball star.

And then there’s her father, Greg Spadafora, who has been a youth softball and Tigard Little League coach. Karen Spadafora definitely got emotional as she hugged her father on the field during the championship celebration.

“My dad has been my coach for most of my life,” Karen Spadafora said. “He’s been a big part of this. I have a lot to thank him for.”

Reid and Spadafora are also thankful for each other.

“I’m super grateful for her,” Reid said of Spadafora. “She’s been a great friend, a great teammate, and someone I could always look up to and play with.”

“I think she definitely made me a better catcher,” Spadafora said. “Makenna is just so good. She hits her spots really well and she bounces back if she’s down in the count. She’s a very good pitcher, and it’s very fun to catch her.”

Karen Spadafora photo Dan Brood

They both stepped up in a very big way this season.

Reid, who was named the Three Rivers League pitcher of the year, finished the season with an earned-run average of 0.45, giving up just 60 hits while striking out 438 batters in 199 innings. Her 438 strikeouts is the second-highest single-season total in state history.

Spadafora entered the state championship game with a .379 batting average to go with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs for the season. Of course, her 36th RBI was the biggest of them all.

Spadafora’s game-winning RBI capped the storybook ending to the duo’s time playing Tigard softball together.

“It feels weird knowing that we’re not going to have practice together tomorrow, or do a bullpen tomorrow,” Reid said. “There’s no more warmup before a game with each other, which is crazy.” 

“It’s going to be really weird without her, but I know she’s going to do big things down at Florida State,” Spadafora said. “And I’m going to be watching her on the big screen.”

But together or apart, Reid and Spadafora, as well as their teammates, many of whom also have deep Tigard softball backgrounds — Korok, Kaylin Kisor, Kali Kisor and Ella Dardis, just to name a few — will always have championship memories — and memories of an amazing 10-inning title-game victory.

“It means a lot. I mean, as a program, we’ve developed and gone through adversities all season,” Reid said. “At the end, I was grateful it was over, but glad we came out on top. Win or lose, it was a great game. We have a lot of things to be proud of, especially doing it in 10 innings — that’s a lot. I’m proud of everyone.” 

“It’s so worth it, all the hours and all the time,” Spadafora said with a smile. “We just got it done when we needed to.”

For the heart and soul of Tigard softball, that should come as no surprise. 

Makenna Reid and Karen Spadafora photo Dan Brood