With its season on the line, the Hanford softball team stuck to its game plan of challenging Eastmont’s defense, and the strategy worked.
MaKenna Hall drove in two runs, and the host Falcons (11-10) finished with 12 hits in an 8-4 victory against the Wildcats in Thursday’s CBBN 3A District Tournament elimination game.
Perhaps a more telling stat: Eastmont (6-15) made five errors on the day.
“Our girls really do hit for contact,” Hanford coach Lesley Guereca said. “And we make the defense work.”
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No. 4 Hanford hopes to do the same against top-seeded Kamiakin (20-0) in a district second-round game at noon Saturday at TRAC in Pasco.
The Falcons are guaranteed two more weekends of play. The four 3A teams playing Saturday will advance to the CBBN/Greater Spokane League regional tournament May 19 in Spokane.
“I think we just have to stay positive, no matter who we’re playing, and just believe in ourselves,” said Hanford shortstop Remy Bradley, who made several sterling defensive plays to help prolong her senior season.
Of course, the Falcons did their part on offense, too.
After the Wildcats pulled within 2-1 on Shasten Gurnard’s first RBI double of the afternoon, the Falcons broke open the game against Eastmont freshman pitcher Haley Fabian in the bottom of the second inning.
Miranda Foraker hit a two-out, two-run triple to deep left field and bolted home on Kayla De La Paz’s single to put Hanford up 5-1.
But Eastmont wasn’t about to slink away.
With the Wildcats trailing 7-1 with one on in the sixth, Madison Ransford hit a one-out single. The next three batters each drove in a run to cut the Falcons’ lead to three, but De La Paz struck out Savannah Jackson and got Morgan DeKorte to ground out.
“I just tried not to seem like it affected me,” De La Paz said. “I just kept pushing through.”
De La Paz had four strikeouts, and Hanford’s defense gave her plenty of backup. Eastmont went down 1-2-3 in the first, third and fourth innings.
But another problem for the Wildcats was defensive miscues. In the first, Foraker reached base on an error, and Emma Garcia scored on a passed ball. Hall came home on an error in the third.
“We had some hard shots and booted the ball around a little bit,” Eastmont coach Dave Kelley said. “But it was a hard-fought game, like Eastmont-Hanford games always are.”
The teams split their regular-season doubleheader, which gave both sides an extra shot of confidence entering Thursday’s game.
“We worked so hard,” said Eastmont sophomore third baseman Megan Lavagnino, who tripled in the second and had an RBI double in the sixth. “We thought we could beat them, but we just came out on the short end of the stick. But we’re still young and in a new league next year, so anything can happen.”
While Eastmont goes home, Hanford will head deeper into the postseason.
“We just really have to execute our game plan,” Guereca said. “We have to not make it bigger than ourselves and do the things we’re capable of.”
Eastmont 010 003 0 — 4 9 5
Hanford 231 011 x — 8 12 1
Haley Fabian and Madison Ransford; Kayla De La Paz and Whitney Nash. Highlights—Emma Garcia (H) 3x4, R; Miranda Foraker (H) 2-run 3B; Nash (H) 3B, R; MaKenna Hall (H) 3x4, 2 RBIs, R; De La Paz (H) 7IP-4K, RBI; Megan Lavagnino (E) 2x3, 2B, 3B, RBI; Shasten Gurnard (E) 2x3, 2 2Bs, 2 RBIs; Fabian (E) 6IP-4K.
West Valley 11, Pasco 8
Pasco led 8-4 after the top of the fourth inning, but West Valley roared back with seven runs to win their CBBN 3A district elimination game in Yakima.
West Valley’s Shae Sunwold hit a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth to break an 8-8 tie.
Sunwold and Madison Roberts combined for nine RBIs, and sophomore starter Halley Ringer kept the Bulldogs off balance with three hitless innings.
West Valley (11-10) will play No. 2 Southridge in a district second-round game Saturday in Pasco. The Bulldogs finished their season with a 7-14 record.
Pasco 020 600 0 — 8 9 2
West Valley 040 124 x — 11 11 4
Ashlyn Boyle and Kendall Swentik; Halley Ringer and Madison Roberts. Highlights—Shae Sunwold (WV) 2x4, 2 2Bs, 4 RBIs; Roberts (WV) 2x3, 5 RBIs; Hannah Souers (WV) 2x5, RBI; Makenzie McFeeley (WV) 2B; Astoria Rice (WV) 3x4, 2R; Sarah Mannin (WV) RBI.
Chiawana 13, Moses Lake 8
The No. 6 Riverhawks earned their first playoff victory by stunning the host Chiefs in a CBBN 4A district elimination game.
Jackie Martin had two doubles and six RBIs for Chiawana (10-11). The Riverhawks had gone 3-9 in league play this season, including two losses last week against the Chiefs.
Chiawana will face No. 2 Richland at noon Saturday at TRAC in Pasco.
Hailee Bishop had two home runs, and Jazmynn Jesse hit a solo shot for the No. 3 Chiefs (10-10), but they couldn’t overcome Chiawana’s 21 hits.
Chiawana 114 201 4 — 13 21 0
Moses Lake 000 035 0 — 8 9 2
Katie Axelson, Kim Poma (5), Axelson (6) and Maddie Heine; Haylie Van Laethem, Sadee Smigaj (6) and Tressa Radach. Highlights—Whitney Weber (C) 3x5, 2B; Melanie Cantu (C) 3x5, 3B; Kendra Boehning (C) 3x4; Danielle Sanaski (C) 3x4; Heine (C) 3x5; Jackie Martin (C) 4x5, 2 2Bs, 6 RBIs; Ashley Ellison (C) 2B; Hailee Bishop (ML) 2x4, 2 HRs; Radach (ML) 2x4, 2B; Jazmynn Jesse (ML) HR; Yvette Moreno (ML) 2x4.
Wenatchee 9, Eisenhower 3
The No. 4 Panthers led 5-0 after four innings and went on to defeat the Cadets in an CBBN 4A District Tournament elimination game in Wenatchee.
Eisenhower 000 010 2 — 3 8 2
Wenatchee 400 104 x — 9 9 2
Winning pitcher: Bri Craddock; Losing pitcher: Abigail Watkins. Highlights—Craddock (W) 7IP-4K, 2x4, 2B, 3 RBIs, 2R; Abby McKay (W) 2x4, 2 2Bs, 3 RBIs, R; Rachael Tamngin (W) 2x4, RBI, R; Lindy Holmberg (W) 2B, 2R.
Connell 24-14, Mabton 0-3
Ashley Thompson threw a five-inning perfect game with 13 strikeouts in the opener and racked up 11 RBIs on the day, and the Eagles wrapped up a 12-0 SCAC East record with a road sweep of the Vikings.
The Eagles will take the East’s No. 1 seed into next week’s SCAC 1A District Tournament.
Connell 158 82 — 24 27 0
Mabton 000 00 — 0 0 3
Ashley Thompson and Shanika Sawyer; Jazzee Sustaita and Marlen Chavez. Highlights—Thompson (C) 5IP-13K, 4x5, 2 2Bs, 3B, HR, 6 RBIs; Savannah Egbert (C) 2x5; S. Sawyer (C) 4x4, 3 2Bs, 3 RBIs; Grayson Corrales (C) 2x5; Michelle Schultz (C) 4x5, HR; Paxton Carlisle (C) 3x3; Whitney Jones (C) 4x5; McKenna Mathis (C) 2x4; Hope Sawyer (C) 2x4.
Connell 205 133 — 14 13 0
Mabton 000 201 — 3 6 3
Thompson, Mathis (4) and S. Sawyer, Egbert (5); Sustaita and Chavez. Highlights—Egbert (C) 3x4; Thompson (C) 3IP-5K, 2x2, 5 RBIs, 2 HRs; S. Sawyer (C) 2x4, 2B, 3B; Corrales (C) 2B; Schultz (C) 2x3, 2B; Chavez (M) 3x3, 2B.