Lady Hawks knock of Deer Park, split with East Valley
Lady Hawks' pitcher Bailey Towey delivers a pitch in the seventh inning of Cheney's 13-9 game one loss last Saturday to visiting East Valley. Towey went on to lead her team to a 10-4 win in game two.
The Cheney High softball team went 2-1 in Great Northern League competition last week, downing Deer Park Tuesday and splitting a doubleheader Saturday with visiting East Valley.
Tuesday the Lady Hawks broke through for multiple runs against Stags' ace Kylie Sweeney, getting an RBI double by Rachel Barsness and RBI single by Bailey Towey in the fifth inning en route to the 6-1 win. Cheney added insurance in the top of the seventh on a solo home run by Barsness and 2RBI triple from Adriana Suiter.
Julia Boyd went the distance for her third win, giving up one unearned run on five hits, walking one and striking out six on 83 pitches, throwing 65 percent strikes. Cheney's defense committed no errors.
"We played one of the most solid games I've seen in all aspects," head coach Gary Blake said.
Boyd wasn't as sharp on a partly cloudy, cold and windy Saturday in game one with the Knights, throwing 55 percent strikes over five-plus innings of work. East Valley opened a 7-0 lead before the Lady Hawks rallied in the bottom of the fifth, cutting the lead to four on Suiter's 3-run homer.
After a pair of outs, Cheney loaded the bases on singles by Cheyenne Hanson, Abbie Waldon and Cheyenne Wright. Barsness then drilled a single to left, scoring Hanson and Waldon, with Wright coming around as well on a fielding error by the EV leftfielder.
The Knights regained a sizeable lead with six runs in the top of the sixth, with Towey coming on in relief of Boyd to end the inning. The Lady Hawks made one final rally in the bottom of the seventh, getting two-out RBI singles from Barsness and Towey and an RBI double from Amy Anderson, but coming up short in the 13-9 loss.
Boyd took the loss on the mound, her first, with Anderson going 4-5 at the plate.
If their first loss of the season stung a bit, Blake said it didn't show. The Lady Hawks "stayed with it" and kept their concentration in game two, rebounding for a 10-4 win.
Cheney took a 3-2 lead in the third on Boyd's 2-run homer, scoring Anderson, added one more in the fourth and broke the game open with four in the fifth, getting an RBI double from Boyd, who then scored on an error by the EV pitcher, and 2RBI single from Anderson. Cheney added two insurance runs in the sixth.
Towey went the distance for her first win of the season, throwing 75 percent strikes. Both of Cheney's defensive errors on the afternoon came in game two.
That defense has been a key in the team's 4-1 start. Cheney committed one error in their first three games, 17 innings, for a .970 fielding percentage. Blake figures that percentage is still on the high side of .950 with just two errors in 13 innings Saturday.
"I always figured for a high school team, .950 is nirvana," he added.
Cheney, second in the GNL at 3-1, has one game before heading into next week's spring break. The Lady Hawks host West Valley (2-1, 4-1) Thursday. The Eagles swept a doubleheader from Pullman, outscoring the Greyhounds 25-2, before losing to Colville, 12-2, March 25.
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.