Lady Hawks swept by Deer Park, sweep Clarkston in tightening GNL race
Twice last week, Cheney High's softball doubleheader with Clarkston was postponed due to weather.
Perhaps that was a good thing because after getting handled by Deer Park in a doubleheader last Friday, the Lady Hawks returned to their winning ways and got this week off to a good start with their own sweep of the visiting Bantams Monday.
Julia Boyd gave up no earned runs while striking out 10 in Cheney's five-inning, 12-2 game one win. The junior gave herself some offensive help, going 3 for 3 with 3RBI.
Rachel Barsness was 3 for 4 with 2RBI but the Lady Hawks big stick came from Adriana Suiter. The junior was 3 for 3 with 5RBI, two coming on a two-run home run in the first and three on a walk-off blast in the fifth as Cheney scored in every inning but the third.
In game two it was the Bailey Towey show. The senior hurler threw a one-hitter, striking out five and walking none while throwing 77 percent strikes, head coach Gary Blake said. In fact, Towey fell behind in the count only twice during the game.
"She was in control all the way," Blake said.
Offensively, Towey got all she would need in the first inning, leading off with a double and scoring from third on Barsness' groundout to short. Shay Turner doubled in the second with her courtesy runner Nicole Rowley eventually coming around to score for a 2-0 lead.
Cheney added insurance in the sixth on an RBI groundout to short by Towey, scoring Cheyenne Hanson with Cheyenne Wright's single scoring Whitney LaValley.
It was nice salve for the Lady Hawks, who had expected to do much better against visiting Deer Park. Cheney was dominated 12-1 in game one by Stags ace Kylie Sweeney who struck out 10 and limited Cheney to four hits. Sweeney also went 3 for 3 at the plate with 5RBI.
"She shut us down pretty good in that game," Blake said.
The Lady Hawks only run came in the bottom of the sixth as Barsness singled and scored on a three-base fielding error.
In game two Cheney's bats came alive against Sweeney. The Lady Hawks cut the Stags 4-0 lead in half in the bottom of the first with an RBI single from Barsness and RBI triple by Suiter.
Deer Park got one back in the third on a solo home run. Cheney pulled within 5-4 with an RBI bloop single by Boyd in the third and an RBI single to left by Barsness in the fourth, but three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth iced Deer Park's 10-4 win.
Cheney's 2-2 record against Deer Park and Clarkston keeps them in third place in the Great Northern League at 8-6, 9-6 overall. The league's landscape could change quite a bit in the next couple weeks as two of the other three teams battling for a top-3 playoff spot, fourth-place Deer Park (5-5, 5-6) and second-place East Valley (8-3, 8-5), have more games remaining on their schedule than Cheney.
The Lady Hawks could help themselves with a win Tuesday at East Valley, which would give them the tiebreaker over the Knights. Cheney steps out of league play to host Idaho 3A school Lakeland before wrapping up the regular season with a single game against league leader Colville (13-1, 14-2) May 6 and a doubleheader against Pullman (2-9, 2-10), all at home.
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.