On a windy Tuesday in Kennewick, the Walla Walla High School softball team blew into town and left with a doubleheader sweep of former Class 4A rival Southridge, winning the opener 10-0 in five innings and the second game 6-4.
Blue Devils junior Alyson Ambler struck out 10 and gave up two hits in Game 1, when the wind was at its most intense.
"It shouldn't have affected us as much as it did," said Southridge senior Caitlin Klepper, who pitched the opener.
With two outs in the first, Ambler doubled to right and senior Hope Klicker singled. Junior TraeAnn Payne then smacked a two-RBI double to right, giving the Blue Devils a 2-0 lead and momentum they would not relinquish.
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Ambler batted 2-for-3 against Klepper and said the Blue Devils (2-0) were well prepared for her, having faced the Suns three times last season. Also, Ambler noted her team had an advantage being able to practice against Klicker, a left-handed pitcher like Klepper.
Klicker, the 2010 Class 4A state player of the year, pitched a complete Game 2 but needed the Blue Devils' defense to come up big in the seventh inning.
Southridge senior Beckie Alderson walked, then reached second on a passed ball. Hannah Sams walked, and fellow junior Allyx Copeland reached on error, scoring Alderson.
Klepper hit a ground ball to Walla Walla shortstop Andrea Hamada, who started a 6-3-2 double play to end the game.
Ambler, playing at first, made a "perfect" throw to the plate, Walla Walla coach Jerry Humphreys said.
"All Mattie (Smyth, Wa-Hi's catcher) had to do was catch it right where the runner was going," Humphreys said.
Southridge coach Eric Weisgerber, whose team is expected to battle Kamiakin for first place in CBBN 3A, said the doubleheader against Walla Walla would help the Suns (2-2), who have just six returners from last season.
"We're always trying to learn, even when we lose," he said.
Walla Walla 202 24 - 10 13 0
Southridge 000 00 - 0 2 2
Alyson Ambler and Kendsey Hill; Caitlin Klepper and Shelly Green. Highlights-Ambler (WW) 10 Ks, 2x3; Libbie Jimenez (WW) 3x4.
Walla Walla 103 200 0 - 6 6 2
Southridge 000 120 1 - 4 6 4
Hope Klicker and Mattie Smyth; Janelle Randles and Allyssa Allen. Highlights-Klicker (WW) 2x4, 2B; Allyx Copeland (S) 2x4, 2B.