Hermiston cruised through the first two rounds at the 3A/2A state slow pitch softball tournament, but in Saturday’s championship game, the Bulldogs ran into a team bent on revenge.
Mt. Spokane, which lost to Hermiston in the MCC/GSL/GNL district title game the week before, handed the Bulldogs a 6-4 loss to claim the title at Gateway Sports Complex.
“The girls, overall, had a great season,” Hermiston coach Kate Greenough said. “I am so proud of who they worked, played and grew together as a team.”
Andrea Scott, Katie McKinnis and Emma Jay had two hits and an RBI apiece as the Wildcats (21-2) ended the Bulldogs’ 18-game win streak.
The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, and the Bulldogs got one run back in the top of the fourth.
Mt. Spokane put three runs on the board in the fifth, and Hermiston matched it in the top of the sixth, but still trailed 5-4.
Mt. Spokane scored an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, then held Hermiston scoreless in the seventh to escape with the win.
“We had a few opportunities to score, but couldn’t,” Greenough said. “They were able to put up more at the end of the game than us. It’s bittersweet considering we beat them the weekend before, but that’s the great thing about softball. Everyone gets their outs, and whoever does more with them in seven innings wins. I am proud of what slow pitch did this year. The kids should be proud of their second-place finish.”
Janelle Almaguer and Bailee Noland each had two hits for Hermiston, while Grace Studer and Hailey South hit doubles and Eliza Rodriguez a triple. Noland also scored twice and drove in a run.
The Bulldogs outhit the Wildcats 10-9, but also committed three errors.
Abby Findley took the loss in the circle.
Hermiston (18-3) started the 3A/2A state tournament Friday with a 26-2 victory over Prairie, then topped Washougal 10-0 to reach the championship game.
“We put the ball in play, and everyone contributed,” Greenough said of the first day. “It was pretty cool.”
It was 23 degrees at the start of the first game against Prairie, but once the Bulldogs got warmed up, they took a 7-2 lead after two innings, and never let the Falcons cross home plate again.
Noland hit a three-run homer in the second inning to give Hermiston a 10-2 lead.
“The fences are 240 (feet) — it’s a very big field,” Greenough said. “She hit it into no man’s land in right field and had to run it out.”
In the bottom of the third inning, the Bulldogs sent 18 batters to the plate, scored 16 runs and took a commanding 26-2 lead. The game ended after 4½ innings.
“All of the starters had a hit in that game,” Greenough said.
Against Washougal, the game was scoreless until the fifth inning. Sam Atilano hit a solo home run in the fifth inning for the Bulldogs.
“We hit the ball really well and played great defense,” Greenough said.
Findley pitched both games and added a couple of doubles to help her cause.