One play, duplicated in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings, divided Aberdeen and Hoquiam softball on Tuesday afternoon.
Locked in a pitcher’s duel, the Bobcats and the Grizzlies never gave an inch at the Bishop Athletic Complex in this non-league rivalry softball game.
The difference came when Hoquiam catcher Sam King threw out runners at third base to end Aberdeen rallies and preserve a 3-2, eight-inning victory for the Grizzlies.
Bailee Bradley led all hitters with three hits, including two doubles. Her second double brought home the eventual game-winning run in the top of the eighth inning for Hoquiam.
“That was a great fastpitch game,” HHS head coach Keith Reynvaan said. “That was fun to coach and probably fun to play in as well. What was nice, we moved the runners along when we got them on and we drove them in when we had to. The kids came through and that’s good to see. Defensively, that’s what we’ve been looking for. I couldn’t be more proud of the kids.”
“Any time you get Aberdeen and Hoquiam together, regardless of the records, both teams will put it out there on the field,” AHS head coach Jeff Timmons said. “It came down to defense. We did execute with a tie game late. We just couldn’t get that last hit to get over the hump. A good competitive game like this will do nothing but help us once we get into districts.”
Tied at 2-2 entering the bottom of seventh inning, Aberdeen (8-5 overall) got a two-out double from Alexxi Timmons to make things interesting.
After a visit to the circle by Reynvaan with the entire infield, starting pitcher Jessica Madison bounced one off the plate with the next pitch to Kiana Dixon.
Timmons took off for third and King gathered the ball and fired a strike to shortstop Ellie Quercia covering the bag. Timmons slid right into the tag for the third out.
Bradley delivered a one-out double to left-center field to score Quercia for a 3-2 Hoquiam lead in the top of the eighth. This was the first and only lead the Grizzlies owned in the game.
In the eighth, Madison walked the first two batters, Dixon and Heather Dublanko. Grace Utto-Galarneau flew out to center field for the first out. The first pitch to Courtney Dietrich was bounced again by Madison, with King covering.
When it hit the dirt, Dixon took off from second for third. Again, King threw a strike and Quercia tagged out Dixon. One pitch later, Dietrich popped out and Hoquiam celebrated the victory.
“I tried to think fast and act fact,” King said of the throws to third base. “I had an idea they were going to go, but they did take me off my rocker there. I couldn’t have done it without Ellie covering the base and being where she needed to be.
“This (win) should give us some confidence getting back into league and (the postseason). The whole team played well, which is what we all needed.”
“The chances to win where there at the end,” Timmons said. “We got a two-out double and as Alexxi and Kiana were taught, if the ball hits the ground, take the opportunity to take the extra base. That is what they were taught to do and Sammy King made two great throws that won the game for (Hoquiam). I certainly have to give praise to her work behind the plate.
“I also want to give kudos to Madison and to Mo (Donovan). For two seniors to have four years of battles, this is a good way for them to finish with the game in extra innings.”
AHS starting pitcher Mo Donovan had Hoquiam’s number for the first three innings, striking out seven of the nine outs recorded. Donovan finished with eight strikeouts in the contest and scattered six hits. Dixon gave Donovan and the Bobcats the lead with a two-out, two-run double off Madison in the third inning. Madison didn’t register a strikeout, but scattered five hits and stranded eight AHS runners on base for the win.
Hoquiam chipped back into the game in the fifth and sixth innings with runners on second and third with no outs in both frames. Donovan got a pop out before Ashlynn Wakefield grounded out to bring Madison home from third for a 2-1 score in the fifth.
In the sixth, Brandi Creviston came away with the biggest at-bat for Hoquiam. Battling Donovan, Creviston fouled off eight pitches in a 12-pitch at-bat that ended with a game-tying RBI sacrifice fly to left field.
“With two strikes, Brandi just kept on battling and battling,” Reynvaan said. “(Mo) is a very tough pitcher and that’s a very good team. That was good for Madison, because we’ll need her. I couldn’t be more pleased with the way she threw the ball today. This is where we want to get started for the rest of the season.”
Reynvaan cited Bradley for her work at the plate, as well as King behind the plate defensively.
In the junior varsity game, Hoquiam won, 13-1.
On Thursday, Hoquiam hits the road to take on Rainier. On Friday, Aberdeen also travels, this time to Chehalis.
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Madison and King; Donovan and Timmons.
RBI: Hoquiam — Wakefield, Bradley, Creviston. Aberdeen — Dixon 2. Three hits: Hoquiam — Bradley. Doubles: Hoquiam — Bradley 2. Aberdeen — Chesterman, Dixon, Timmons.
Winning pitcher — Madison (five walks). Losing pitcher — Donovan (eight strikeouts, three walks).