PORTLAND — Columbia Basin College appeared to be well on its way to a second win at the NWAACCsoftball championships Saturday morning when one bad inning proved the Hawks’ downfall.
Pierce College scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning en route to a 9-8 victory in the consolation bracket at Delta Park.
CBC, which led 5-3 before the Raiders’ big inning, finishes the season at 26-21 and made big strides this season, reaching the NWAACCs for the first time since 2010.
“Our goal was to win three games today, but unfortunately it didn’t happen,” said CBCassistant coach Alex Cuello. “We’re proud of the sophomores and the other kids too, because they’re all a good group of well respected young ladies.”
After splitting a pair of game’s Friday, the Hawks came out swinging hard with freshman Bailey Walthers ripping a leadoff single, stealing second and coming around on an error.
Miranda Martinez added an RBI single, and the CBC was in business.
After Pierce rallied for two runs of their own, Martinez yanked a three-run bomb out of the park in the third to score Ashlen Ayres and Maddie Chambers.
“The kids fought hard to get a lead, but then (Pierce) made a nice comeback,” Cuello said.
The Raiders exploded in the fourth to build a 9-5 advantage. CBC narrowed the margin to 9-6 on Chambers’ solo homer in the fifth.
Brenda Rodriguez mashed a two-run double in the seventh to pull the Hawks within a run, and it looked like they might pull ahead when Lacey Padilla sent a drive to left. But Pierce outfielder Kassidy Rauch made a spectacular catch while colliding and then tumbling over the fence. She maintained possession and ended the threat and the game.
“I wasn’t hitting too good, so I went into the at-bat thinking it was my turn to get a big hit,” Padilla said. “After I hit the ball, I thought it was going over, but she made a good catch.”
Added Rodriguez: “I thought we did a good job of getting runners in scoring position. I just felt like I needed to come out and get it done in my at-bat, so I was pretty excited at that point of the game. We almost pulled out the win, but we just came up a little short.”
Ayres finished 3-for-4, and Walthers and Martinez each 2-for-4 for CBC.
“I thought we had a good chance to come back and win the game, but it just didn’t turn out that way,” said Ayres, one of seven sophomores on the team.“This year has been a great season, and we have lots of good athletes who really played their hearts out all year. I couldn’t ask to be on a better team.”
Columbia Basin 203 010 2 — 8 8 1
Pierce College 201 600 x — 9 15 1
Brenda Rodriguez, Shawney Garcia (3), Gabby Meza (4) and Miranda Martinez. K. Perry, L. Young (4) and C. Cox. Highlights- CBC: Martinez 2-4, HR, 4 RBI; Rodriguez 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Bailey Walthers 2-4; Madison Chambers 1-3, RBI; Ashlen Ayres 3-4. PC: A. Bezdicek 2-4; Ericka Hobson 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI; B. Halquist 3-4, HR, 2 RBI; J. Steele 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI.