Cheney mistakes lead to pair of GNL softball losses
Cheney’s final regular season games left Lady Hawks softball head coach Gary Blake longing for the beginning of the season when his team’s defense had him experiencing nirvana.
After starting the season with a .970 fielding percentage through the first five games, the Lady Hawks fumbled their way through their final Great Northern League games, committing 24 errors over 17 innings in lopsided losses to Colville and in game two of a doubleheader at Pullman. Cheney did manage a lopsided win of their own, capitalizing on nine Greyhound miscues in downing Pullman 21-6 in game one of Saturday’s twin bill.
“All we can do is just keep working on it and just hope they can get it back together,” Blake said of the Lady Hawks fielding woes.
Those mistakes were big last Tuesday at home against league-leading Colville where after two scoreless innings the Indians blew things open with 19 runs in the third en route to the 28-6 win. Cheney committed 11 errors in the frame, three more in Colville’s nine-run fifth, with seven players taking part in the misadventures.
“We should have been out in three batters, 10 pitches,” Blake said of the third. “Instead, we end up facing 24 batters and having to make 61 pitches.”
Julia Boyd took the loss on the mound, with Bailey Towey coming on in the third and then lifted by Boyd in the fifth. The Lady Hawks had success against Colville ace McKenna Cabbage, going 8 for 24 at the plate with Boyd 2 for 3 and an RBI and Rachel Barsness 2 for 3 and an RBI.
Game one at Pullman looked like a typical high school softball game through the first five innings, with Cheney leading 6-4 heading into the sixth. But over the final two frames the Lady Hawks scored 15 runs, keyed by Barsness’s three-run home run in the seventh, en route to the win.
Boyd pitched well in recording her seventh win of the season. She was also 3 for 4 at the plate to lead Cheney’s 14-hit attack, with Cheyenne Hanson and Hailey Walker both going 2 for 3, Towey 2 for 5 and Adrianna Suiter 2 for 6.
While Cheney committed a more typical two errors in game one, they committed eight miscues in the 17-5 loss in the nightcap. The Greyhounds capitalized on the mistakes with 13 hits, scoring eight runs in the fourth inning.
Towey got the loss on the mound, with Barsness leading the team offensively on a 2 for 3, 3RBI effort. Blake said Pullman also benefited from three “news reel-type plays” from centerfielder Ann-Marie Petrino, who robbed Cheney by snagging a pair of line drives that looked to be going over her head.
Cheney finishes the regular season at 9-9 in league play, 11-9 overall. The Lady Hawks wrapped up the No. 4 seed into this week’s District 7 playoffs, hosting No. 5 West Valley Thursday (May 15) in opening-round, loser-out action.
If Cheney is to advance in the post season, they will have to do it without a couple key players. Senior Amy Anderson has been out with nerve problems in her throwing elbow, and wouldn’t be scheduled to fully return until late May – right before the start of the state tournament.
Blake said Whitney LaValley is also out after getting hit in the eye with a ball against Colville. She could be cleared to play later this week.
“Our focus is just getting focused again,” Blake said of the upcoming second season. “We need to get back to playing the ball we were playing earlier.”
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.