The Columbia Basin College softball team is back at home, hoping to bounce back from Wednesday’s pair of road losses to North Idaho College.
The Hawks entered the doubleheader as the top team in the NWAC East, but North Idaho swept past CBC with 9-7 and 17-3 wins.
The Cardinals moved into first place in the East Region, while the Hawks dropped to third behind Walla Walla.
“I think that we were just hoping to at least get one win,” CBC pitcher/first baseman Kayla Andrews said. “We weren’t looking to become the best team in the East, but we were looking to make ourselves better and put ourselves in a good position. Our ultimate goal is to win NWACs, of course, so I think it was a good stepping stool for us. It might help us in the future because we see what we can do, and then it’s going to push us more because we lost those games.”
CBC (14-6 overall, 6-2 NWAC East) will host Blue Mountain on Friday, Walla Walla on Saturday and Big Bend on Tuesday.
The Hawks have been riding Andrews, the former Richland High School ace who entered Wednesday with a 13-1 record, 96 strikeouts and a 1.90 ERA. But in the opener against North Idaho, Andrews gave up 10 hits, including a two-run walkoff homer. Though she struck out seven, her ERA took a hit, as all nine runs scored against her were earned.
In Game 2, Andrews entered in relief and allowed five hits and six runs — four earned — in two-thirds of an inning. Her ERA rose to 2.83.
Given how the rest of this spring has gone for Andrews and the Hawks, Wednesday could be just a hiccup in their season.
CBC opened its East Region schedule by sweeping longtime NWAC powerhouse Wenatchee Valley, Yakima Valley and defending NWAC champion Spokane. The Hawks are ranked fifth in the latest NWAC/Alaska Airlines Softball Coaches Poll, a spot behind North Idaho, which last season left the National Junior College Athletic Association for the NWAC.
Andrews, who pitched the program’s first perfect game earlier this season against Yakima Valley, remains No. 1 in the NWAC in wins (13) and strikeouts (103). She’s also a dynamite hitter, topping the NWAC in home runs (11) and RBIs (41). The sophomore, who has signed to play at Central Washington University next spring, leads the Hawks with her .439 batting average.
Other key contributors at the plate include Megan McMurrin (.435), former Hanford player Kadi Patterson (.415), Suzie Lubanski (.390) and ex-Kamiakin standout Carlie Wyant (.375).
“When we’re hitting, our lineup is very powerful and very good, and I know that no matter what, like if someone gets out, the next person will be able to pick them up and do something with their at-bat,” Andrews said. “We all trust each other and know our roles. We’re a great team.”
And a group that won’t let one tough afternoon in Coeur d’Alene get them down.
“Our coach, Adrian (Ochoa), he said he doesn’t even remember the last time CBC has swept Spokane and Wenatchee in the same year,” Andrews said. “It’s been 11 years since CBC’s even swept Wenatchee.
“I think the confidence is still there for everybody. It was just a little bit of a hard day, a rough day, but I think we’re still there.”
NWAC NOTES: Wenatchee Valley’s Hunter Schneitter (Kamiakin) is batting .500 (22-for-44) in 13 games. She has eight doubles, a home run and 11 RBIs. ... Kylee Andreason (Hermiston) is batting .436 (24-for-55) with 18 RBIs for Spokane, while Courtney Kent (Richland) has a .414 average (24-for-58) and 20 RBIs. Andreason has played in 17 games, and Kent has appeared in 18 for the Sasquatch.