Five runs in the last two innings put the game out of reach as Elma came away with 7-0 road victory over Hoquiam on April 9.
Quin Mikel played a big role in the victory with her performance at the plate and in the circle, going 3-for-4 while pitching seven shutout innings.
For the first four innings of the contest, Mikel was nearly equalled by Hoquiam’s Tauni Hilliard. Hilliard kept the Eagles off the board until the fourth inning when Chloe Velasco drove in Mikel for the first run of day.
Mikel said that Hilliard presented a unique challenge to her as she has struggled to stay patient when facing slower pitching.
“We’ve been working on slow pitching because I personally have struggled with it ever since I started playing softball, so it was a big accomplishment for me today to wait and actually drive the ball,” she said. “All the practicing that we did throughout spring break really paid off today.”
The Eagles added another run in the fifth inning before creating some more breathing room in the sixth, when Elma tacked on three runs.
Velasco reached on error that allowed Molly Johnston and Mikel to score. Hoquiam’s fielding hurt the Grizzlies again when another error at shortstop brought in another run, giving Elma a 5-0 lead at the conclusion of the sixth inning.
Hoquiam head coach Kieth Reynvaan said he was disappointed to see defensive miscues in the sixth frame after his team got off to a promising start.
“Our defense just let us down. We played really well for four innings, then they had three runs in the one inning and that was game over,” he said. “We just have to start making the plays when we can and start hitting the ball in the clutch.”
The Eagles tacked on another two runs in the seventh as Mikel and Destry Dineen both picked up an RBI.
Hoquiam (3-3, 1-2) had its chances early on but saw its offense dwindle as the game continued. The Grizzlies put runners in scoring position each of the first three innings but couldn’t get a baserunners past second base after that.
Mikel struck out three batters in seven innings of work and mentioned that she was trying to simplify her approach after not pitching for a while.
“I haven’t been pitching a lot because I tried to take a break from it during spring break, so I was just hoping for the best today and letting my defense do all the work behind me.” she said.
Hoquiam is taking a break from the league schedule to face a 4A school in a matchup against Decatur at 12 p.m. on Saturday in Hoquiam.
Reynvaan said his team will need to get its confidence up in order to get back in the win column.
“In a situation like that, it’s mental. They just have to have more confidence in all aspects of the game,” he said. “Hopefully, we can turn things around and develop more confidence in ourselves.”
“Our girls like to get out in front sometimes, but they finally took care of business,” Elma head coach Roger Elliot said. “It took a while, but as you watched every inning you could see that we were hitting the ball a little harder before we finally got to her.”
The Eagles face Montesano at 4 p.m. today in Montesano.
— Hasani Grayson, Grays Harbor News Group
Montesano 5, Forks 0
Montesano’s Lindsay Pace threw a no-hitter to lead the Bulldogs to a 5-0 victory over Forks on Friday in Forks.
Pace, a senior, dominated the Spartans, allowing no runs and no hits while striking out 15 Spartans. Fifty-nine of Pace’s 85 pitches were for strikes and she threw a first-pitch strike to 18 of the 22 batters she faced.
Montesano scored a pair of runs in the first inning followed by a run in the fifth and two in the sixth. Pace also had a big game at the dish, driving home runs with an RBI single in the first and a run-scoring double in the fifth.
A Montesano error and a hit-batter kept Pace from earning a perfect game.
The Bulldogs next play Elma at 4 p.m. today at home.
— Ryan Sparks, Grays Harbor News Group
Montesano 15, Tenino 0
Montesano kept pace for the top spot in the 1A Evergreen League race with a dominant 15-0 victory over Tenino on April 9 in Montesano.
The Bulldogs (7-3 overall, 2-1 Evergreen 1A) jumped out the gate quickly, scoring seven runs in the bottom of the first inning on four run-scoring base hits.
Monte added to its lead with four runs in the fourth inning and put the game away with four in the third, capped by Jessica Stanfield’s walk-off three run home run to complete the 15-0 three-inning victory.
Stanfield went a perfect 3-for-3 with three runs scored and three RBI to lead the Bulldogs.
Montesano’s Emma Jensen went 2-for-2 with a double and two runs scored and Lindsay Pace belted a solo home run to lead off the Bulldogs’ third inning.
Pace also earned the victory in the circle, allowing no runs and no hits while striking out seven in three innings of work.
— Ryan Sparks, Grays Harbor News Group