The productive heart of the Grays Harbor College batting order made the most of its final opportunity to keep the Choker women near the top of the NWAACC Western Division softball standings.
Jasmine Gilmore and Shannon Glenn delivered two-run, two-out hits in the sixth inning to rally the Chokers to a 9-6 victory over Pierce College in the second game of a doubleheader Friday at the Bishop Athletic Complex.
Pierce used an eight-run sixth to win the opening game, 12-5.
The Chokers (6-2, 11-14) began the day tied with Centralia for the Western Division lead. Pierce is also in the mix at 3-2 in league.
Amanda Anderson and Gilmore, the third and fourth-place hitters in the GHC lineup, had spectacular days at the plate. Anderson went 6-for-7 in the two contests, with two home runs and three RBIs.
Gilmore also homered twice and knocked in five runs in the second game alone.
The remainder of the Chokers, however, produced only two hits in the first 12 innings of the twin bill.
Pierce, meanwhile, had nearly duplicated their opening-game salvo by stringing together five consecutive hits (only a fine running catch by center fielder Erica Rydman on Kassidy Rouch’s sacrifice fly had prevented further damage) in a five-run fifth inning that produced a 6-3 lead.
Gilmore got two of those runs back with a towering home run to center field with Anderson aboard in GHC’s half of the fifth.
Lunden Young, the winning pitcher in the first game, relieved to retire the next five Chokers.
Rydman, however, drew a two-out walk in the sixth. Kaisha Hollenbeck then bounced a single off Young’s glove and past the second baseman.
After Anderson walked on four pitches, Gilmore ripped a double to right field to score Rydman and Hollenbeck and put the Chokers ahead to stay.
Glenn followed with a drive off the center-field fence to bring in two more. That was officially scored a single, with Glenn taking second on the throw to the infield.
Choker pitcher Jill Johnson survived a leadoff walk in the seventh by striking out two of the final three batters.
Anderson and Gilmore blasted back-to-back homers in the first inning. Although outhit 20-13 in the two contests, the Chokers outhomered the Raiders, 4-0.
“That’s the kind of team we are. We’re not a bunch of singles hitters,” Grays Harbor coach Tom Sutera said. “We do have a lot of pop, we have five or six girls who can hit the ball out of the park.”
Sutera also offered kudos to Johnson, who threw the full 14 innings. Jenny Benn, GHC’s other pitcher, is hobbled with a knee injury.
“With Jenny out, she’s the only pitcher I have,” the Choker coach noted. “Jill has grown a lot as a pitcher this year. She’s been given a huge responsibility and she’s taken it on.”
First Game Raiders 12, Chokers 5
Thanks to Anderson’s two-run homer in the third inning and unearned runs in the fourth and fifth, the Chokers actually took a 4-3 lead into the sixth.
Then the Raiders, who had been making solid contact for much of the contest, hit everything on the nose in the sixth.
Following a one-out walk to Hailey Haukeli, Ashley Bezdicek, Ericka Hobson, Jorden Steele, Brittanie Halquist and Kierston Perry delivered consecutive singles to put the visitors on top. Grays Harbor’s defense also fell apart with four errors in the inning, but only two of the eight runs were unearned.
Hobson led the Raider attack with three hits and two RBIs.
Anderson finished with three of GHC’s four hits.
The Chokers are scheduled to host Green River today at an unfamiliar time (11 a.m.) and location (Hoquiam’s John Gable Park).
Pier 011 108 1 — 12 11 3 GHC 002 110 1 — 5 4 7
Young and Cox; Johnson and Gilmore.
RBI: Pierce — Hobson 2, Bezdicek, Steele, Halquist, Perry, Cox, Kimble. GHC — Anderson 3, Gilmore. Three hits: Pierce — Hobson. GHC — Anderson. Two hits: Pierce — Steele, Halquist, Perry. Home runs: GHC — Anderson. Triples: Pierce — Halquist. Doubles: Pierce — Cox.
Winning pitcher — Young (walked five; struck out nine). Losing pitcher — Johnson (walked five; struck out 10).
Pier 010 050 0 — 6 9 3 GHC 210 024 x — 9 9 3
Perry, Young (5) ande Cox; Johnson and Gilmore.
RBI: Pierce— Halquist 2, Steele, Perry, Rouch 2. GHC — Gilmore 5, Glenn 2, Rydman, Anderson. Three hits: GHC — Anderson, Gilmore. Two hits: Pierce — Hobson, Steele, Kimble. Home runs: GHC — Gilmore 2, Anderson. Doubles: Pierce — Steele. GHC — Gilmore.
Winning pitcher — Johnson (walked five; struck out seven). Losing pitcher — Young (walked three; struck out three).