Thursday, April 25, 2013
WALLA WALLA — Get them on, get them over, and get them in.
Walla Walla High School did just that Wednesday in the bottom of the seventh inning in non-conference softball action.
The Blue Devils scored twice in the seventh to wipe out a 5-4 Kamiakin lead and earn a 6-5 win.
Down one, senior center fielder Mattie Smyth led off the Wa-Hi seventh. Smyth dropped a single in front of the Braves’ left fielder to put the tying run on.
“I’m thinking I’ve got to get on base and help out my team,” Smyth said. “If I get on base, I have confidence in my team that they’ll keep it going and I can get home.”
Carly Clark followed with a perfect sacrifice bunt down the third-base line — Wa-Hi’s third sac bunt of the game.
Clark’s bunt was thrown into the right-field corner, and Smyth raced all the way from first to score the tying run.
“Carly put it down,” Smyth said. “I just saw (coach) Kate (Keyes) waving me in. It felt so fast and it felt really good.”
On the play, Clark wound up at third with no outs.
Lauren Likes then lifted another sac fly to right and Clark slid home to beat the throw and give Wa-Hi the 6-5 win.
Jacie McDaniels followed singles from Jordy Storm — her first of four hits — and Kendsey Hill, with a two-run double as Wa-Hi took a 2-0 lead after one.
The Braves got one back on a Emily Benson groundout in the third.
Likes and Storm singled to open the Wa-Hi fourth.
Maddy Aichele lined a hit off the first basemen’s glove to score Likes.
Aichele was thrown out stealing second, but Storm scooted home on the play and Wa-Hi led 4-1.
Ellie Rassbach, in the circle for the Blue Devils, cruised through five with a two-hitter and a 4-1 lead.
This was much different than the Mid-Columbia Conference meeting between the two teams that saw the Braves win 9-8, and the Blue Devils win 17-16, as both teams combined for 64 hits.
“We focused (today) and hit our spots,” Keyes said. “Our defense did a much better job of backing her (Rassbach) this time. That gives a pitcher confidence to throw what they need to get ahead in the count.”
The Braves broke through in the sixth as Carlie Richards connected for an RBI triple and Melanie Oord drove in two with a double as Kamiakin took a 5-4 lead.
“We knew they were going to put the bat on the ball at some point,” Keyes said. “We’ve been working on the mental bounce-back after a tough inning and what we’re going to do about it. We did a great job tonight.”
Rassbach “bounced back” with a perfect seventh to set the stage for Wa-Hi’s game-winning rally.
The Blue Devils and Kamiakin both stand at 7-1 in the Mid-Columbia Conference, tied for second behind Richland’s 8-0 record. The Blue Devils travel to Pasco Friday, and finish the MCC season with a home double bill with the Bombers and Hanford next week.
“We’ve improved a lot since the last time we played them,” Smyth said. “We played a lot cleaner D. They got hits, but we kept it together mentally.”
McDaniels led that defense with six assists at shortstop.
“For it not to be her position (shortstop), she’s really stepping in and learning,” Keyes said. “She’s getting better everyday.”
Wa-Hi improves to 9-3 overall.
“This (game) was a good opportunity against a good team to get another competition before postseason,” Keyes said. “These girls really earned it tonight.”
WA-HI 7, KAMIAKIN 6
Kamiakin 001 004 0 — 5 6 2
Wa-Hi 200 200 2 — 6 11 2
Austin, Benson (5) and Booth, Becker (2); Rassbach and Hill.
Hits — Kam: Oord 2, Edminister 2, Ca. Richards, Cy. Richards; Wa-Hi: Storm 4, Hill, McDaniels 2, Smyth 2, Aichele, Likes.