Lady Hawks down West Valley to advance in district playoffs
Loss at Colville sets up another elimination game at East Valley
Teammates surround home plate to congratulate Adrianna Suiter on her third-inning solo home run during Cheney's 5-1 over visiting West Valley in District 7 softball first-round playoff action last Thursday.
The Cheney High softball team returned to its early and mid-season form just in time for the first round of District 7 playoffs, getting good pitching, hitting and defense in a crucial 5-1 win Thursday over visiting West Valley in a round-one, elimination game.
After starting pitcher Julia Boyd got three straight outs to escape a two-on, no-out jam in the top of the first, the Lady Hawks responded with all they would need for the win in the bottom of the frame. Bailey Towey led off with a single to right centerfield, followed by Cheyenne Wright reaching base via an error by the Eagles third baseman on her bunt attempt.
Adriana Suiter then smacked a one-out double to left that hit the bottom of the fence on the fly, scoring Towey and Wright. Boyd singled to left to bring home Suiter, and with two outs, Cheyenne Hanson singled to score Boyd for a 4-0 lead.
Suiter launched a convincing two-out solo home run over the leftfield fence to give Cheney a 5-0 lead through three. West Valley attempted to rally in their final at bat; scoring a run on back-to-back Cheney errors with two outs, but came up short.
Boyd took the win on the mound, pitching a solid game.
"We were happy to get the win and get into the double elimination portion of the tournament," head coach Gary Blake said. "The girls worked hard the past week to prepare."
That preparation showed against West Valley and Saturday in a second-round game at Great Northern League regular-season champion Colville. The Lady Hawks got a great combined pitching performance from Boyd and Towey, but the Indians got an equally strong effort from senior ace McKenna Cabbage, who struck out 14 in Colville's 2-0 win.
The Indians' runs came in the first and fifth innings, capitalizing on two walks and a Cheney throwing error in the first, and three singles in the fifth. Cheney managed to get a runner to second against Cabbage just once on a walk and two-out single in the third.
Blake said the Lady Hawks fourth hook up with the Indians was more of a "true fastpitch softball game," low scoring and played cleanly in the field. Against Colville, Blake employed a tactic of alternating pitchers, bringing Towey on for Boyd in the third and then reversing the move in the sixth that prevented Indians' hitters from locking in on either pitcher's rhythm.
"It definitely kept them (Colville) off balance because you have two pitchers with different styles," he said.
Cheney was to continue playoff action Tuesday with a game at East Valley. The second-seeded Knights lost to third-seed Deer Park Thursday, and face the fourth-seeded Lady Hawks in an elimination game. East Valley won the season series 2-1.
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.