Big bats, pitching power Medical Lake softball to quick start
A new-found offensive side of the game has emerged early for the Medical Lake High School softball team, and new head coach Tim Blakely.
The Cardinals’ bats were certainly lively in a sweep last week of three games, two of which to start the Northeast A League season.
Last Thursday in their lone nonleague game of the season versus Davenport, Medical Lake got a nine-run fourth to break open a close contest and cruise past the Gorillas, 11-1. Then Saturday afternoon they kept the offense going in a doubleheader sweep of NEA foe Newport, winning 12-2 and 17-2 at Medical Lake.
“It’s been a nice little run so far,” Blakely said. “They’re very aggressive in the box, that’s one great thing with all of the kids.”
Saturday the Cards used the solid pitching of senior Shelby Pavao in both ends of the doubleheader as she improved her record to 3-0. “Pitching was great,” Blakely said. “Shelby Pavao has thrown all three games so far and surrendered 13 hits.”
The Cards needed Pavao’s mastery from the circle until their bats came alive, but when they did, Medical Lake had a short day. They had a five-run fourth and a four-run fifth in the opener to break open the contest and then opened game two with four runs in the first and added a 10-run second in a game that would be shortened to just three innings due to the mercy rule.
Medical Lake had yet to get an extra-base hit in their opening outing against Davenport, but the big bats erupted against Newport as Glori Cheevers had a pair of doubles and a triple Saturday. Jordyn Soliday had a pair of triples, one each in the two games, while Claire Dormaier and Katelyn Pruitt each had a double in each contest.
Cheevers and Chelsea Hamby each had five RBIs in the opener. Cheevers added three more in the second game while Dormaier and Bradyn Wegner each had two.
In their season opener versus Davenport, the Cardinals started off slowly. The Cardinals timing was off early with the Davenport pitcher throwing balls that they were not used to seeing, Blakely explained.
“I just kept emphasizing to the girls that they had to wait, they were swinging early,” Blakely said. “They ended up making adjustments in the fourth inning.”
Soliday had three hits and a pair of RBI and Wegner two hits and three RBIs to lead the Cards. “Not knowing Davenport at all, we didn’t really know what to expect,” Blakely said. “ I keep emphasizing to them hits are contagious.” And he proved to be right.
While Pavao has been the workhorse so far, Blakely doesn’t anticipate that being the case as the season progresses.
“The great thing about this year is I have six kids I can put on the mound,” Blakely said. “I have great confidence in all six.”
He pointed to one of those, transfer student Soliday from Liberty High, as one who once she works through an injury, she’ll be up and running in a couple of weeks.
As with baseball, softball shares a similar schedule. Thus past Tuesday saw the Cardinals visit Freeman for a single game and Wednesday at Kettle Falls. Following spring break the Cards remain on the road at Chewelah, April 5 before returning home to face Riverside, April 15.
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.