Last year, the Richland and Walla Walla softball teams split their regular-season doubleheader.
This year was no different in the end result, but something felt different about Friday’s matchup.
Alyson Ambler, who had helped Walla Walla reach unprecedented heights last year with its first state title, was pitching in her final home doubleheader, being honored with balloons and applause from the crowd.
But after a 13-5 loss in the opener, during which she was replaced after giving up seven runs in the fourth inning to a jubilant Richland team, Ambler wasn’t in the mood for celebrating.
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“I’m a competitor at everything,” she said. “Even if it’s just a mess-around foot race, I hate losing.”
She showed just how much when she smacked a two-out solo home run in the first inning of the nightcap, sparking the Blue Devils to a 5-0 victory in a game called with one out in the bottom of the fifth because of darkness.
“I’m a team leader, and if I didn’t come out strong, our team just would come out flat,” Ambler said. “Hitting’s my thing, and I had a 3-1 count — a hitter’s count — and I got the pitch I was looking for.”
Ambler’s blast, just to the left of the center-field scoreboard, helped the Blue Devils (10-1 overall, 6-1 CBBN 4A) maintain the momentum they found too late in Game 1.
The Blue Devils scored four runs in the seventh inning of the opener, but the Bombers (10-3, 5-1) had scored 10 over the third and fourth innings to all but slam the door shut on Wa-Hi.
Caitlyn Stevens hit a leadoff double in the third, and the Bombers cycled through their lineup. Along the way, Bailey Walthers and April Utecht each had an RBI single, and Ambler walked in a run to put the Bombers ahead 3-1.
That was just a warmup for the next inning.
Stevens led off again in the fourth and sent the ball hurtling over the right-field fence. Ambler struck out the next batter, but the eight that followed reached base on hits or errors.
One of them was Stevens. The senior chased Ambler when she came up for a second time in the inning and singled in a run.
“I was very confident going in,” Stevens said. “My team was cheering for me, giving me a little extra boost to get a hit. They had my back.”Wa-Hi coach Jerry Humphreys said he was afraid of pulling Ambler too early.
“They hit the ball, but we booted the ball around,” said Humphreys, who had senior Jordan Heiser finish the game. “There were a lot of outs we didn’t make. Is that a pitching issue or a defensive issue? We don’t want to make her pay for something that could be a defensive issue.”
Meanwhile, Walla Walla’s hitters were making contact with the ball, but shallow popups weren’t getting it done against junior pitcher Paige Goulet and a lockdown Richland defense.
The Blue Devils found their stroke with six consecutive one-out hits in the seventh, but the Bombers erased a runner at second and finished the game with a easy out at first.
“My defense was doing really good, so I didn’t let it get to me,” Goulet said. “When I let it get to me, that’s when things fall apart.”
Kayla Andrews started Game 2 for the Bombers, and the sophomore recorded five strikeouts.
When the nightcap ended, Richland coach Casey Emery was upset his team wouldn’t be able to go for the sweep.
“I’m very disappointed,” he said. “I knew we could come back in the game.”
But as these teams know very well, revenge is best served in the playoffs.
Richland 003 700 3 — 13 15 1
Walla Walla 100 000 4 — 5 12 2
Paige Goulet and April Utecht; Alyson Ambler, Jordan Heiser (4) and Kendsey Hill. Highlights—Bailey Walthers (R) 3x5, 3R, RBI; Dora Hernandez (R) 3x5, 3R, 2B, RBI; Utecht (R) 2x5, 2B, 2 RBIs; Monika Hebky (R) 2x5, RBI; Caitlyn Stevens (R) 3x4, 2B, HR, 2 RBIs; Libbie Jimenez (WW) 3x4, R, 3B, RBI; Andrea Hamada (WW) 2x5, 2B; Ambler (WW) 2x4, 2B; Hill (WW) 2x4, 2B, RBI.
Richland 000 00 — 0 2 1
Walla Walla 102 02 — 0 11 0
1 out when game called because of darkness. Kayla Andrews and Audrey Oleson; Ambler and Hill. Highlights—Andrews (R) 4 1/3IP-5K; Ambler (WW) 2x3, HR; Hill (WW) 2x3; Elli Rassbach (WW) 2x3, 2-run 2B; Mattie Smyth (WW) 2x3, 2B, 2-run 1B.
Kamiakin 11-13, Pasco 0-0
Kamiakin’s Lindsey Kamphuis struck out 16 batters over the course of two five-inning contests — the first a no-hitter — as the Braves swept Pasco at a doubleheader at Lawrence Scott Park.
Emily Benson and Kylie Richards had a home run apiece in the opener, and Melanie Oord had four RBIs in the second game.Highlighting Pasco’s appearance was Marissa Menchaca, who, along with a triple, contributed two of the Bulldogs’ three hits in the nightcap.
Pasco 000 00 — 0 0 4
Kamiakin 153 2x — 11 10 0
Amber Boyle and Kendall Swentik; Lindsey Kamphuis and Jessica Miracle. Highlights—Hunter Schneitter (Kam) 2x3; Emily Benson (Kam) 1x2, HR, 2 RBI; Kylie Richards (Kam) 1x2, HR, RBI; Carlie Richards (Kam) 1x2, 2 RBI; Miracle (Kam) 1x2, 2 RBI; Kamphuis (Kam) 5IP-9K-0BB
Pasco 000 00 — 0 3 3
Kamiakin 242 5x — 13 9 0
Kristen Swentik and Ke.Swentik; Kamphuis and Miracle. Highlights—Marissa Menchaca (Pas) 2x2, 3B; Melanie Oord (Kam) 3x4, 4 RBI; Kamphuis (Kam) 2B, 2 RBI, 5IP-7K-0BB; Riley Thorington (Kam) 2B, RBI; Hunter Schneitter (Kam) 2x4.
Kennewick 11-11, Sunnyside 2-0
Karissa Shiflet, Kaylee Hagadorn and Alexis Klippert had two hits apiece for Kennewick in the nightcap as the Lions swept host Sunnyside in a CBBN 3A matchup.
Kennewick 135 200 0 — 11 4 1
Sunnyside 000 020 0 — 2 3 7
Bryanna Deroos and Kaylee Hagadorn; Monique Gill and Dahlia Romo. Highlights—Deroos (Ken) 2x3; Karissa Shiflet (Ken) 2B; Johanna Chumley (Sun) 2x3.
Kennewick 114 011 3 — 11 14 1
Sunnyside 000 000 0 — 0 4 7
Deroos and Hagadorn; Amber Cornwell and Romo. Highlights—Karissa Shiflet (Ken) 2B, 2x5; Hagadorn (Ken) 2x5; Amber Doyle (Ken) 3x5, 3B; Alexis Klippert (Ken) 2x5; Chumley (Sun) 2x4
Southridge 6-10, West Valley 3-9
Hayley Miller smacked the go-ahead RBI in the top of the eighth of the nightcap as Southridge squeaked by West Valley and the Suns swept the Rams in a CBBN 3A doubleheader in Yakima.
Vanessa Casrejon hit an inside-the-park home run in the second game to help keep the Suns in an alignment for victory. Southridge pitcher Sarah Gilliam went the distance in both contests.
Southridge 000 123 0 — 6 15 1
West Valley 000 300 0 — 3 8 4
Sarah Gilliam and Makensie Meyer; Ringer and Roberts. Highlights—Hannah Sams (Sou) 2x5, 2B; Gilliam (Sou) 2x5, 2B, 7IP-4K; Allyx Copeland (Sou) 3x5; Meyer (Sou) 2x4, 2 RBI; Chelsey Klepper (Sou) 3x4, 2 RBI; M. Roberts (WV) 2x4, 2B; S. Manning (WV) 2 RBI 2B.
Southridge 062 010 01 — 10 16 2
West Valley 300 400 10 — 9 13 3
Gilliam and Meyer; Kivi and Roberts, Bryant (4). Highlights—Sams (Sou) 2x5, 3B; Klepper (Sou) 4x5; Hayley Miller (Sou) 3x5, 2B, 2 RBI; Vanessa Castrejon (Sou) 3x5, 2B, inside park HR, 2 RBI; Souers (WV) 2x4; S. Manning (WV) 2x5, 2 RBI; Gilliam (Sou) 8IP-3K
Hanford 9-1, Eastmont 0-11
MaKenna Hall had a double and home run among her three hits, driving in a pair of runs as the Falcons took the opener of a CBBN 3A doubleheader on the road.
Hanford 9, Eastmont 0
Kayla De La Paz and Whitney Nash; K. Auvil, H. Fabian (2) and M. Ransford. Highlights—Remy Bradley (H) 2x5, 2 SB; MaKenna Hall (H) 3x5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI; Emma Garcia (H) 2x4; Miranda Fouracre (H) 2x3.
Eastmont 11, Hanford 1
Kadi Patterson, De La Paz (4) and Nash; Fabian and Ransford. Highlights—Lexi Alaniz (H) 1x2; Fouracre 1x3, Kayla De La Paz (H) 1x3.Note: Linescores not available
Columbia-Burbank 3-4, Royal 2-3
Columbia-Burbank senior Cheyenne Bell hit two RBIs in the bottom of the fourth of the nightcap as the Coyotes earned a sweep at home against Royal in a Senior Night doubleheader.
Royal 100 010 00 — 2 6 5
Burbank 110 000 01 — 3 8 4
2 outs when game winning run scored. Delgado and Madrigal; Cotsford and Roberts. Highlights—Jocelyn Lott (Bur) GW R; Mandi Hope (Bur) GW RBI.
Royal 001 010 1 — 3 6 3
Burbank 200 200 x — 4 5 1
Jenks and Araujo; Cotsford and Roberts. Highlights—Brittany Cotsford (Bur) 2H; Cheyenne Bell (Bur) 2 RBI in 4th.