May 9, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 3

Lady Hawks enter playoffs winners of three of their last four

With the Great Northern League’s No. 5 seed secured and no chances of moving up, the Cheney girls softball team on paper didn’t have much to play for Saturday against last place Pullman – other than head coach Gary Blake’s appeal to end their regular season on a high note.

“Apparently they took that to heart because they really went out and swung the bats,” Blake said of the Lady Hawks’ 24-hit performance in sweeping the visiting Greyhounds 13-1 and 13-6.

Amy Anderson led Cheney with six hits on the afternoon, including a triple, while Cheyenne Hanson had four hits (double, three singles) with Katie Bethel, Bailey Towey and Adriana Suiter (single, double, triple) each adding three hits. Sophomore Julia Boyd (5-3) earned the win in both games, giving up one walk in nine innings of work on the afternoon, but losing her focus a bit, Blake said, in game two where she gave up 13 hits in four innings, going from throwing 71 percent first pitch strikes in game one to 56 in the nightcap.

The wins marked the end to a good week for Cheney, winning three of four games and playing well against Colville in the loss. The Lady Hawks took advantage of Indians’ starter McKenna Cabbage’s control problems, eight walks and a hit batter; taking a 2-1 lead in top of the third by loading the bases on walks and putting across the runs on a Colville error on Katie Bethel’s grounder and a walk to Adriana Suiter.

Colville responded with five in the bottom of the frame, but Cheney cut that to 6-5 in the fifth. Towey and Whitney LaValley walked, with Towey reaching third on wild pitches and scoring on a fielder’s choice by Anderson, who reached safely on a throwing error. After Bethel walked to load the bases, Suiter doubled, scoring LaValley and Anderson.

That was as close as Cheney got as Colville scored in the bottom of the inning and the sixth for a 10-5 win. Cheney had two hits, both by Suiter, while Boyd took the loss, showing grit after getting hit three times by Colville line drives.

In between the two league opponents the Lady Hawks finally played their non-league game with Lakeland, postponed three times since April 10. Cheney scored three in the first, two in the third and two in the sixth on Boyd’s 2-run home run in their 7-3 win.

Boyd had a double as well, as did Anderson and Shay Turner while Cheyenne Wright and Suiter added singles. Towey got the win on the mound, with Boyd coming on in relief in the fifth.

Blake was happy with his team’s performance over the four games, especially defensively where their .953 fielding percentage helped boost the season average to .926. Cheney hit well, or at least four players did, Blake said, with Hanson leading the way at .556 (5 for 9), Anderson (7 for 14) and Suiter (6 for 12) both at .500 and Boyd at .417 (5 for 12). For the week Cheney hit .308, despite just two hits at Colville.

The team’s performance was tempered a bit with the news that Anderson suffered a fractured ankle in the second Pullman game and is done for the season.

Cheney finishes the regular season at 8-10 in league, 10-10 overall, landing the No. 5 seed and a playoff game Tuesday at No. 4 East Valley, 9-9, 10-10, full results next week. The winner advances to the double-elimination round with a Thursday date at league champion Colville (18-0, 19-1) while the loser’s season is over.

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

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