Tuesday, May 31, 2011/lk
A third consecutive double digit run effort propelled the Hood River Valley softball team past Wilson 10-3 and into the state playoffs for the first time since 2006 Thursday afternoon at Wilson.
"We're finally hitting the ball again," HRV coach Eric Keller said. "That's pretty much the lot of it. Once we get runs on the board it's easier for us to play defense and pitch well after that."
Coming off a strong game in the Eagles' 10-0 win over Milwaukie in a round of 36 play-in game, Natalya Ames again helped to pace the HRV offense, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two runs batted in.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning against the Trojans, the Eagles tied it with two in the second, put up four in the fourth, and two each in the fifth and sixth innings.
In addition to Ames, Megan Winans and Erica Enriguez both collected three hits, while Logan Bailey had two and two RBI.
Kayla Byers went the distance for HRV against both Milwaukie and Wilson to get the win in both contests.
The last time the Eagles went to state in 2006 they took a senior heavy team. This year the team only has one senior and Keller said it was a credit to his young team's work ethic that they are heading to the state tournament.
"This is a testament to how hard they have worked," he said.
He also said the way the Eagles came back to beat Mountain View Monday in a non-league contest, Milwaukie Tuesday and Wilson Thursday showed his team's tenacity.
"It's a credit to their talent and that they never give up," he said. "They keep trying and one thing I really appreciate is that we may have a couple bad losses on our record but they come back to practice and play like champions."
Against Milwaukie Tuesday, the hardest ball the Eagles hit all night drove in the game-ending run and drove home the point the the Eagles had their swagger back.
Hallie Curtis' ringing double off the centerfield fence in the fifth inning gave the Eagles 10-0 win in five innings over Milwaukie in a Round of 36 play-in game Tuesday afternoon in Hood River and got the Eagles within one win of the state playoffs.
"At the beginning of the game we emphasized coming out hard and not having as much to do at the end," said Ames, who drove in three of the HRV runs.
The Eagles jumped all over Milwaukie pitcher Nicole Bugliari from the outset.
The Eagles got on the board with an Annie Veatch single in the first inning and never let up.
The Eagles took advantage of everything the Mustangs gave them, scoring three runs on sacrifice groundouts and three more on errors as they built up their lead.
"We got the runner on, got her over and then scored," HRV coach Eric Keller said.
HRV pitcher Kayla Byers did her part, shutting down the Milwaukie offense and allowing one hit and a walk while striking out five over five innings.
Ames drove in three of the Eagle runs with a single and a groundout while Hannah Williams, Annie Veatch and Curtis drove in one each.
The 10 runs gave the Eagles 22 in two games after beating Mountain View 12-6 Monday and gave them some confidence heading into the playoffs after being swept by The Dalles-Wahtonka to end their league schedule.
"After getting swept by The Dalles this definitely helps us go into the playoffs more even headed," Ames said. "We've worked hard to accomplish these things and everyone from the team has put in their work to get us here."