Cheney Free Press -

By JOHN McCALLUM
Managing Editor 

Blackhawks win streak ends at EV

 

April 26, 2018

John McCallum

Cheney High softball pitcher Maddie Kallsen (center) gets a high-five from Megan Krantz (left) and other teammates after getting out of a jam in the Lady Blackhawks win over West Valley.

Cheney softball head coach Gary Blake has an acronym for the ailment that sent his Lady Blackhawks to their first loss of the season last Friday at East Valley. It's called PIADD - Prom Induced Attention Deficit Disorder.

The lack of focus in athletes due to the coming of the annual spring ritual often leads to stumbles by teams playing at the top of their game prior to the much-anticipated formal weekend event. Such was the case with the Lady Blackhawks, who had to rally late for a win in game one against the Knights, 11-8, and saw their hitting prowess disappear in a 8-2 loss in the nightcap.

"We were not playing the way we've been playing," Blake said, although he credits East Valley for a lot of his team's difficulties.

"East Valley swings the bat pretty aggressively," he said. "There's nothing wrong with their hitting."

Cheney took an early 5-1 lead in game one, only to have the Knights score five runs in the bottom of the fifth for a 6-5 lead. East Valley extended that to 8-6 heading into the seventh.

Shyla Courchaine got Cheney's final at bat started with a walk, Shelby Morton reached base on a fielding error and Kyla Olsen brought Courchaine on an RBI single to left, with Morton scoring when the ball went past the left fielder. Lindsay Hagreen's sacrifice bunt scored Olsen to preserve Cheney's 11-8 victory.

Olsen led Cheney with three hits, with Courchaine, Megan Krantz and Maddie Kallsen each getting two. Courchaine got the win, relieving Kallsen with two outs in the fifth.

Courchaine proved to be one of the highlights of the week for the Lady Blackhawks. The freshman threw her second no-hitter of the season Wednesday in Pullman, with the Greyhounds only run coming on a three-base error in the seventh.

Courchaine struck out 12 and walked one, falling behind in the count against only three batters.

Cheney hit just well enough to get the win as Pullman's pitching rose to the occasion of hosting the league leaders. Courchaine's three hits helped her own cause, with Logan Krantz adding another three and Megan Krantz two, including a home run.

Cheney opened the week with what could prove to be a key moment in the season, a 9-4 win over reigning Great Northern League champion West Valley. The Lady Blackhawks and Eagles have dueled each other for league and district title honors the past three seasons, and Cheney's win could go far in securing top post-season spots.

Megan Krantz led the Lady Blackhawks offensively, going 4 for 4 with 3 RBIs, including a line-drive home run to right field in the third inning. Kallsen got the win, throwing effectively in giving up four runs on nine hits and walking one while striking out 11.

Cheney (12-1, 5-1 GNL) is currently tied with the Eagles (12-2, 5-1) atop the league standings. The Lady Blackhawks traveled to fourth-place Clarkston (2-10, 2-6) Tuesday for their final game with the Bantams, and return home to face Pullman (1-13, 0-6) in a doubleheader this Saturday.

Facing the two teams near the bottom of the league could help Cheney get its focus back before its final three games against the two Spokane Valley schools, both of whom are solid post-season contenders.

"The important thing is we get back on track again," Blake said. "Get focused and get back to the way we were playing before last Friday (against EV)."

Hawks’ Boxes

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E

West Valley 1 0 0 0 1 2 0 4 9 3

Cheney 3 0 2 2 0 2 x 9 11 1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E

Cheney 4 0 1 0 1 0 0 6 9 2

Pullman 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2

Game 1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E

Cheney 0 0 2 5 0 1 3 11 11 4

East Valley 0 0 1 0 5 2 0 8 9 4

Game 2

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E

Cheney 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 4 3

East Valley 0 3 1 2 0 2 x 8 11 2

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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