Kiana Dixon extracted dual payment from an unorthodox Black Hills strategy on Friday.
Dixon twice blasted home runs — including a fourth-inning grand slam — following intentional walks to teammate Alexxi Timmons in powering the Bobcats to a 9-5 victory over Black Hills in Evergreen 2A Conference softball play at the Bishop Athletic Complex.
After hitting her fifth homer of the season in the first inning of Thursday’s first meeting with the Wolves, senior catcher Timmons was ordered intentionally passed seven consecutive times.
That was unusual enough, but two of Friday’s free tickets came with two runners already aboard and first base occupied.
“Make ‘em pay,” Aberdeen coach Jeff Timmons muttered to Dixon, who follows his daughter in the batting order, after the tactic was employed in the third inning with none out and the visitors owning a 3-0 lead.
Dixon didn’t oblige in that particular instance, hitting an infield fly, although the Bobcats (3-3, 3-4) later scored twice in the inning on Emily Wharton’s sacrifice fly and Ericka Manwell’s RBI single.
She did, however, one inning later.
An infield error and a two-out walk to Katelynn Reeson again put runners on first and second. Alexxi Timmons was again walked, loading the sacks for Dixon.
The AHS senior needed only one pitch to clear them, depositing a Taylor Elliott pitch well over the fence in left-centerfield to give the Bobcats a 6-3 advantage.
Dixon, whose homers Friday were her third and fourth in league play this season, said she didn’t approach that situation with any additional determination.
She described her mindset as “just trying to put the ball in play…and get the runs in.”
Jillian Swor’s solo homer in the fifth extended Aberdeen’s lead to 7-3.
Lexi Tarrow cut the deficit in half with a two-run homer in the Black Hills half of the sixth.
But, after Timmons was put on base with one out in the Bobcat half of the same inning, Dixon again connected with a long drive over the left-field fence.
“Pick your poison,” Jeff Timmons observed. “Either one senior will get you or the other one will.”
Bobcat freshman pitcher Kyra Gallinger allowed Kassi Ward’s fourth hit of the contest leading off the Black Hills seventh. Emma Duff’s infield single with two outs kept the contest alive, but Gallinger retired the final batter on a fly to left fielder Stephanie Boone.
Although allowing 10 hits, the right-handed Gallinger stayed away from the big inning — thanks in large measure to errorless Bobcat defense. Dixon, at shortstop, and center fielder Reeson made some particularly fine plays in the field.
Three Black Hills errors, in contrast, rendered six of Aberdeen’s runs unearned.
“The good thing is we’re starting to jell and make the plays behind our pitcher,” Coach Timmons noted.
The Bobcats face Adna at 5 p.m. today in the Husky Softball Classic at the University of Washington field. They resume league play Monday with a makeup game at home Monday against Centralia.
Black Hills1020020—5103 Aberdeen002412x—980
Elliott and Ward; Gallinger and Timmons.
RBI: Black Hills — L. Tarrow 2, Elliott, Ward 2. Aberdeen — Dixon 6, Swor, Wharton, Manwell. Four hits: Black Hills — Ward. Two hits: Black Hills — L. Tarrow, Duff. Aberdeen — Dixon, Swor, Wharton. Home runs: Black Hills — L. Tarrow. Aberdeen — Dixon 2, Swor. Doubles: Black Hills — Ward 2, Elliott.
Winning pitcher — Gallinger (walked four; struck out one). Losing pitcher — Elliott (walked five; struck out two).