March 28, 2013 | Vol. 116 -- No. 49

Cheney bats not enough in 12-7 loss at West Valley

Head coach Gary Blake had a philosophical outlook about his young Cheney softball team’s 12-7 loss at West Valley.

“We hit the ball well,” Blake said. “You score seven runs, you really should win.”

Both teams hit well, slugging it out for 27 hits, 10 by the Lady Hawks. What Cheney needs to tweak now is its pitching, something that will come as the weather warms, and its fielding. While the published box score had the Lady Hawks with just one error, by Blake’s count it was four.

Senior Katie Bethel gave the Lady Hawks the lead with a 2-run home run in the first, countered in the bottom of the frame by four West Valley scores – three on Bailey Castor’s home run. The Lady Hawks tied it in the second with RBI singles by Shay Turner and Bailey Towey, with the Eagles regaining the lead with one in the bottom of the inning.

Cheney tied it again in the fourth on Brenna Loucks’ RBI single, with the Eagles countering again with three in the home half, two on Cassie Finn’s home run. The Lady Hawks made it 8-7 in the fifth with RBI singles by Cheyenne Wright and Adrianna Suiter, but after West Valley extended it to 9-7, Finn uncorked her second 2-run shot in the three-run sixth to seal the win.

“It was a good game,” Blake said. “It was tight all the way until they hit that last home run.”

Towey (1-1) took the loss, pitching well with good control over six innings by striking out two and walking two, throwing 72.6 percent strikes. Blake said the junior just ran up against a good hitting West Valley club at a time in the season when the weather – usually cold, often stormy – isn’t conducive to pitching.

Loucks and Towey were both 2 for 3 with 4 RBIs between them while Wright was 2 for 2. Overall Cheney was 10 for 30 at the plate with a .333 average. Trouble was West Valley, 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the Great Northern League, hit .428 – 15 for 35.

It’s the first loss for the Lady Hawks, now 3-1 overall, 2-1 in the GNL. Blake is happy so far with the team, which is hitting .383 through the first four games as nine players are over .300 – led by Turner’s .600 average.

“We just need to have our pitchers and fielders catch up with that,” he said, something he is confident will come as the weather warms and players get more innings under their belt.

Cheney’s non-league game with Idaho school Lakeland was rained out; rescheduled for April 10. The Lady Hawks continue in league action this week, hosting Deer Park (1-0, 2-0) Tuesday and traveling to East Valley (0-1, 1-2) for a doubleheader Saturday.

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

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