ELMA — An early showdown of Evergreen 1A League softball contenders ended in a standoff.
Winning pitcher Bailee Bradley drove in four runs — two with a key single in the sixth inning — to help Hoquiam outlast Elma, 8-6, and gain a split of Friday’s doubleheader at Eagle Field.
Brooke Goldsmith pitched a two-hitter and Regan Wollen homered as the reigning league champion Eagles cruised to a 7-1 victory in the opening game.
The second game, in particular, left both coaches with mixed emotions.
Hoquiam (2-2, 3-3) nearly self-destructed in mid-game with five errors. That enabled the Eagles (1-1, 4-2) to overcome a 4-0 deficit before the Grizzlies settled matters with a three-run sixth.
“We were fortunate we were able to come up with clutch hits when we needed them in the second game,” HHS coach Keith Reynvaan said. “The bottom line is we have to play better. It’s a game of throwing and catching and we didn’t do a very good job of it. But I liked the way we came back.”
After dominating the opening game, the Eagles fell victim to control difficulties in the nightcap. Goldsmith, who allowed only three hits in 9 1/3 innings (she went the distance in the opening game and relieved starter Ashley Cooper in the nightcap), also issued 14 walks.
While saying her team — unaccustomed to doubleheaders — needs to build up its stamina, Elma coach Janene Todd wasn’t otherwise discouraged.
“I’m not disappointed,” Todd asserted. “We’re not hanging our heads. We have a long season ahead of us and it’s just a stepping stone.”
Eagles 7, Grizzlies 1
The Eagles needed only three batters to take what proved to be a permanent lead.
Goldsmith stroked a leadoff single to left field off Grizzly starter Jessica Madison. One out later, Wollen walloped an opposite-field drive over the right-field fence.
Elma added a third run later in the inning when Cooper’s single drove in Izzy Cristelli, who had reached on an error.
That was more than enough support for the hard-throwing Goldsmith. Although struggling with her control even in this contest, she took a one-hitter into the seventh.
The Grizzlies wound up loading the bases in that frame on Ashlynn Wakefield’s double and a pair of walks, but Goldsmith retired Bradley on a soft liner to first baseman Cristelli.
Cooper drove in three runs with two hits and ninth-place hitter Taylor Wilson contributed two hits and two RBIs.
Elma’s Nicole Shannon made a couple of diving catches in right field.
Grizzlies 8, Eagles 6
Maintaining her composure in the face of her team’s defensive misadventures, Bradley wound up helping her own cause in the decisive sixth.
Cooper’s RBI double scored Cristelli from first base in the fifth inning to give the Eagles a 6-5 lead. That’s the way it stood when Hoquiam batted in the bottom of the sixth (the Grizzlies were the home team for the second game).
After Wakefield singled to center with one out, Goldsmith walked Kayla Hilliard and Ellie Quercia to load the bases. That brought Cooper back to the circle.
Bradley lined the first pitch off Cooper’s left leg and the ball caromed into center field to score Wakefield and Hilliard. Quercia came in on Madison’s infield out.
The Eagles brought the potential tying run to the plate in the seventh after Stacia Burbidge reached on a one-out error. Bradley, however, set down the final two batters on grounders.
Bradley had a two-run double in the first inning to help the Grizzlies to their 4-0 advantage.
The Eagles answered with a five-run fourth that included three errors, Burbidge’s perfectly executed bunt single and run-scoring hits by Ashlyn Malmstrom and Taylor Wilson.
Both teams will be idle during spring break. The Grizzlies travel to Pe Ell on April 9, while the Eagles host Rochester in a twinbill on April 11.
Hoq 001 000 0 — 1 2 2 Elma 303 100 x — 7 9 2
Madison and King; Goldsmith and Wollen.
RBI: Hoquiam — Wakefield. Elma — Cooper 3, Wollen 2, Wilson 2. Two hits: Elma — Wollen, Cooper, Wilson. Home runs: Elma — Wollen. Doubles: Hoquiam — Wakefield. Elma — Wilson.
Winning pitcher — Goldsmith (walked seven; struck out five). Losing pitcher — Madison (walked three; struck out four.
Elma 000 510 0 — 6 6 0 Hoq 211 103 x — 8 7 5
Cooper, Goldsmith (4), Cooper (6) and Wollen; Bradley and King.
RBI: Elma — Burbidge, Cooper, Malmstrom, Wilson. Hoquiam — Bradley 4, Madison 2, Wakefield. Two hits: Hoquiam — Wakefield, Bradley. Doubles: Elma — Cooper. Hoquiam — Quercia, Bradley.
Winning pitcher — Bradley (walked three; struck out three). Losing pitcher — Goldsmith (walked seven; struck out one).