Wednesday, April 18, 2012/lk
The Hood River Valley softball team will head in to league play with something to prove.
After crushing Gresham for the second time in 10 days with a 16-2 win on Friday, the Eagles fell 4-2 to 4A Molalla in their non-league finale Monday.
The Eagles led early against the Indians, but couldn't take advantage of controversial call in the third inning to extend that lead.
With one out in the third and runners at second and third Annie Veatch hit a fly ball to left field for an out. Megan Winans tried to tag up and score from third base, but had to scramble back to third base following a strong throw home.
She was originally ruled safe at third, but that call was overturned after the umpires conferred, which resulted in double play to end the inning.
However, after HRV coach Eric Keller argued, the umpires conferred again, and ruled that Winans had left third base before Veatch hit the ball, resulting in a dead ball out at third, but keeping Veatch at the plate. Molalla retook the field and Veatch then extended the inning with a base hit.
The Eagles could not take advantage of the situation, though, and Molalla pitcher Sierra Benson was able to get Hannah Williams to ground out to end the inning.
A fired-up Indians team then took the lead in the top of the fourth, when three straight hits led to one run, a throwing error by catcher Annie Veatch attempting pick a runner of third led to another, and a single by Becca Bring made it 3-1.
Both teams would later add a run to their totals, but the Eagles, using a reconfigured lineup to get players at bats before league play, could not catch up and stranded 11 runners in the game.
The win was the fourth straight for Molalla, which moved to No. 6 in the state 4A rankings with the win.
On Friday the Eagles pummeled the Gresham Gophers from the outset.
Hallie Curtis led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run, and Veatch followed three batters later with a two-run shot as HRV scored four in the frame.
Things did not get any better for Gresham from there. HRV scored three in the third and then exploded for nine runs in the fourth as the Gophers completely imploded. The scoring by the Eagles included four runs on four consecutive bases loaded walks, part of seven walks in the inning, and two Gresham errors.
Katie White, Megan Winans and Annie Veatch all had two hit days for the Eagles.
The win over Gresham and loss to Molalla put HRV at No. 8 in the 5A rankings heading into the start of league, where the competition figures to get tougher.
All four Columbia River Conference teams are the top-10 of the state rankings as league play gets under way.
The Dalles-Wahtonka is No. 1 with an 8-3 non-league record, Pendleton is No. 2 with a 7-5 record, Hermiston is No. 7 with a 6-4 record and HRV is No. 8 with a 9-3 record.
The Eagles open league play at Pendleton Friday and have their league home opener in a doubleheader against Pendleton April 21.