Cheney Free Press -


By John McCallum

Bandits sweep of Stealth extends league winning streak to eight


The West Plains Bandits 14U softball team wrapped up their regular season schedule with a road doubleheader sweep of Mead’s Stealth (Finch) team. The Bandits scored in the first five of six innings to win game one 10-5. In the nightcap, West Plains rallied to overcome a three-run deficit with six runs in the bottom of the fourth for a 10-8 win.

West Plains scored twice in the top of the first in game one, getting RBI singles from Kaitlyn Kinzel and Taylor Pavao. The Stealth took the lead with three in the bottom of the frame on Abby Van Horn’s 2-RBI triple and Megan Krantz RBI single, but the Bandits wasted no time in taking it back on Lilje’s 2-RBI double in the second.

From there, West Plains played add-on softball, getting three consecutive singles from Glori Cheevers, Kinzel and Hannah Petek to load the bases with no outs en route to a three-run third, followed by triples from Lilje and Cheevers (RBI) and an RBI single from Rachel Barsness in the two-run fourth.

Pavao got the win on the mound, giving up just two earned runs on eight hits in a five-inning complete game. The error bug bit the Bandits a bit, with two miscues helping the Stealth in their three-run first, and another in Mead’s two-run fourth.

In the nightcap, Barsness tripled to center and scored on Cheevers RBI single, who then stole second and scored on Kinzel’s RBI single to center for a 2-1 Bandits lead. The Stealth regained the advantage in the third, scoring five runs on five straight hits and a groundout to short.

West Plains got two of those back in the bottom of the inning on Petek’s two-out, 2-RBI single, and regained the lead with six runs in the bottom of the fourth, started by Barsness’s two-out, 2-RBI single. The Stealth tried to rally in their last at bat, scoring on Krantz’s two-out solo home run followed by McKinsey Hart’s ground out to end the game.

Lexi Gonzalez got the win, giving up six earned runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out three in the five-inning complete game. Cheevers led the Bandits at the plate, going 5 for 6 with 3 RBIs and 4 runs over the two games. Barsness, Kinzel and Petek all went 4 for 6.

“We had an injury at pitcher a couple weeks ago that has shaken things up,” head coach Byron Pavao wrote in an email, referencing the loss of starter Taylor John. “We have called on a couple of our pitchers to step up and they responded well in the games versus the Stealth. We have a pretty solid defense and offensively we can hit the ball. This helps take the pressure off the pitchers to carry all the weight.”

West Plains finished the regular season with a 10-2 record, second in the Spokane Girls Fastpitch Softball Association’s 14U league and owners of an eight-game, league winning streak. The Bandits are 19-5 overall, and head to regional action this Friday and Saturday in Coeur d’Alene.

John McCallum can be reached at


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