The opening week of the Mountain Valley Conference softball season was one of wide swings – in game scores, that is – for the Creswell Lady Bulldogs, who downed host La Pine 12-2 on April 9 but were shut out by host Pleasant Hill 11-0 in five innings April 10.
Creswell’s game bus was forced by a slide near Oakridge to take a longer route, through Sisters, to La Pine – and during the game, the weather proved another opponent for the teams.
”We were pelted repeatedly with hail and ice, but the girls stayed focused,” said Creswell Head Coach Brett Giles. ”The good news for me was the team’s perseverance through some of the coldest weather I’ve not enjoyed coaching in in a long while.”
Answering some La Pine mistakes with good baserunning, Creswell jumped out to a three-run lead. The Hawks scored in the third inning, but the Lady Dawgs erupted for seven more runs in the fifth and tacked on two more in the sixth.
Pitcher Destiney Black gave up just two earned runs on four hits, struck out seven and walked one in six innings in recording the win.
Black also went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs from the plate. Morgan Janshen and Abbe Grubbs each went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run; Gabby Halgren went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs; Hallie Drago went 1-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs; and Gracelyn Ehrich went 1-for-4 and scored.
As courtesy runner for Black, Zaida Allen scored twice; Jenessa Mallory scored once.
”Except for a couple of innings, we hit the ball hard, which caused some errors. We also pitched and fielded the ball fairly well, making them earn their runs,” Giles said. ”It was a good victory.”
The grueling game and travel conditions for the La Pine game impacted the Lady Dawgs at Pleasant Hill.
”I’m not a fan of excuses, but the late travel to and from La Pine the previous day and the game conditions there, then playing the next day in the rain against a good opponent was a lot to ask from the players,” Giles said. ”Hopefully, we learned something from the experience.”
The Lady Dawgs – who trailed just 3-0 until the fourth – managed only three hits, with singles from Ehrich, Mallory and Macy Waller.
Black – who also struck out eight, walked three and hit two batters with the pitch – gave up just six hits. Unfortunately, two were home runs and another was a double – all by Billies freshman Stella Hucka, who went 3-for-4 with a solo homer in the second, a two-run homer in the fifth and a double.
”We just simply didn’t hit the ball. The game was not a good showing by our offense or defense,” Giles said, citing four Bulldog throwing errors that helped Pleasant Hill score five in the fourth.
The Lady Dawgs travel to Harrisburg and host Santiam Christian as league play continues this week.
”Hopefully this week we can continue to improve our offense and defense,” Giles said. ”We have been getting better.”