Softball teams that win five of six to open the season rarely take comfort in moral victories.
But Columbia Basin came take some solace after Sunday’s 8-0 and 8-7 pre-regional losses to Mt. Hood in Pasco. The one-run loss marked just the third time in 10 games the third-ranked and unbeaten Saints have won by fewer than eight runs.
“We played them well,” said CBC coach Adrian Ochoa. “They scored 28 runs and had 40 hits vs. Walla Walla (on Saturday), so to hold them the way we did today, I’m proud of our pitching and our defense.”
The Hawks (5-3) also could be proud of how they opened the weekend, sweeping defending NWAACC champion and preseason No. 1 Clackamas 4-3 and 7-4 on Saturday.
Ashlen Ayres bases-clearing double in the fourth inning of the opener helped CBC rally from a 3-1 deficit, and pitcher Brenda Rodriguez closed with three shutout innings.
Ayres and Maddie Chambers each hit two-run homers in the second game, and Gabby Meza went the distance in the circle.
“It was a huge opening day at home for us to take two from the NWAACC champions,” Ochoa said.
On Sunday, Bailey Walthers went 3-for-4 and JoAnna Quezada homered to power the Hawks in the finale. But Mt. Hood pushed across the winning run in the top of the seventh with a two-out single to complete the sweep.
CBC overcame some serious adversity in the game, losing Chambers to an injury early in the game (she’s expected back this weekend) and falling in a four-run hole.
The Hawks rallied in the bottom of the sixth to pull even. Quezada and Lacey Padilla led off with singles and came around on RBI hits from Walthers and Ayres. They in turn scored on Caitlyn Stevens single.
In the opener, Rodriguez posted three shutout innings before Mt. Hood slugger Maycee Abendschein belted a two-run home run in the fourth. The Saints went deep four times on the day, two by Abendschein.
The Hawks are off until next weekend, when Everett and Southwestern Oregon come to town for doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday.
Mt. Hood 000 215 — 8 10 0
Columbia Basin 000 000 — 0 4 2
Ann-Marie Guischer and Courtney McCarthy; Brenda Rodriguez, Gabby Meza (6) and JoAnna Quezada. Highlights—Guischer (MH) 6IP-4H-0R-2BB-9K; Maycee Abendschein (MH) 3x4, HR, 2R, 2RBI; Kylee Gasper (MH) 2x3, HR, 2R, 2 RBI; Bianca Hancock (MH) 2 RBI; Ashlen Ayres (CBC) 2x3; Rodriguez (CBC) 2B.
Mt. Hood 100 411 1 — 8 12 0
Columbia Basin 200 104 0 — 7 14 3
Brittney Dawson and Hancock; Meza, Rodriguez () and Quezada. Highlights—McCarthy (MH) 3x4, 2B, HR; Heather Jett (MH) 2x4, RBI; Abendschein (MH) HR, 2R; Hancock (MH) 2x3; Emma Bird (MH) 2x4; Bailey Walthers (CBC) 3x4, 2R, RBI; Rodriguez (CBC) 2x3; Quezada (CBC) 2x4, HR, 2R, RBI.
Olympic 17-1, Columbia Basin 7-13: The Hawks posted their fourth split in as many doubleheaders, using a nine-run third inning to put the second game away in a pre-regional pair in Pasco.
Former Richland standout Kenton Brunson drove in three runs and Ryan Atkinson and Jordan Feeney two each for CBC (4-4) to back a sterling outing from Chad Bettinson.
Bettinson, who on Saturday gave the Hawks a boost with his bat, turned in a five-inning gem for his first college win, allowing one hit and walking one while striking out four. Former Southridge teammate Daniel Neville finished up with two scoreless innings of relief.
“They set the tone for our entire team in that second game,” said CBC coach Chris Staton. “We had one big inning that they weren’t able to recover from.”
Brunson had a two-run single early in that inning that started with CBC leading just 2-1. The Hawks scored station-to-station from there with RBI singles by Craig Jorgensen, Garrett Weiss and Feeney along with a sacrifice fly, an error and a bases-loaded walk.
Walks were a big help to the Rangers (5-3) in the first game. CBC’s three pitchers combined to walk 11 batters and hit another. Throw in four errors, and that is a lot of free stuff to overcome.
“Pitching is the key to winning at this level,” Staton said. “We had 14 hits and seven runs in the first game, and we weren’t even close. Seven runs should be good enough to get you a win. Our pitching let us down, and since I’m the pitching coach, there is nobody to blame but me.”
Travis Key, a freshman outfielder from Ferris, went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs for CBC in the opener, and the Hawks scored six runs in the final four innings. But that came after Olympic hung six runs on the board in the fifth inning to blow the game open.
CBC is off until next weekend, until Green River and Skagit Valley come to town for a pair of twin bills Saturday and Sunday.
Olympic 300 162 14 — 17 14 3
Columbia Basin 010 011 13 — 7 12 4
Devin Smith (W,1-0), Ty Donahou (7) and Dustin Dhanani, Lockett; Nico Face (L,0-1), Nate Sorensen (5), Peyton Lutz (6) and Tim Sousley. Highlights—Brady Page (OC) 2x5, RBI, 3R, SB; Dhanani (OC) 1x1, 4 RBI, 3R, 3 BB; Ryan Taylor (OC) 2B, 4 RBI, SB; Ian Hollis (OC) 2x6; Darrell Wilson (OC) 3x6, RBI, R; Vince Sablan (OC) HR; Dalton Johnson (CBC) 2x5, RBI, 2R; Travis Key (CBC) 3x4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, R, SB; Sousley (CBC) 2B.
Olympic 100 000 0 — 1 2 3
Columbia Basin 119 020 x — 13 14 2
Spencer Hansen (L,0-1), Valley (4), Harkness (6) and Madsen; Chad Bettinson (W,1-0), Daniel Neville (6) and Garrett Weiss. Highlights—Sablan (OC) 2B; Bettinson (CBC) 5IP-1H-0ER-1BB-4K; Neville (CBC) 2IP-1H-0R; Ryan Atkinson (CBC) 2 RBI, 2R, SB; Nick Savas (CBC) 3x3, 2B, 2R, RBI; Jordan Feeney (CBC) 2x3, 2 RBI, 3R, SB; Kenton Brunson (CBC) 3 RBI; Daniel Besmer (CBC) 2x4, 2R; Craig Jorgensen (CBC) 2x4; Weiss (CBC) 2x4.