Once they began materializing midway through the first game, the hits kept on coming for Hoquiam’s girls on Wednesday.
Down 7-0 after two innings of the opener, the Grizzlies erupted for 27 runs in the next nine innings to sweep Elma, 9-8 and 18-3, in a critical early season Evergreen 1A League softball doubleheader at John Gable Park.
The Grizzlies, who had outslugged Rochester, 19-13 and 14-13, in their previous league twin bill, continued their lusty hitting against the defending league champion Eagles.
They scored in each of the final five innings to pull out the first game, while Bailee Bradley delivered four hits and Kayla Hilliard and Katelynn Paladin each homered in the nightcap.
Their offensive prowess and fortitude were assuredly tested, however, in the opener.
Elma pitching ace Brooke Goldsmith helped her own cause with a three-run home run over the right-field scoreboard in the second. Shayla Shumate then capped the six-run inning with a two-run homer that gave the Eagles a 7-0 bulge.
“It didn’t look too bright, did it?” Hoquiam coach Keith Reynvaan said with a laugh. “But we’ve got some hitters on the team. The nice thing was they made some adjustments. That’s what you’ve got to do against a good pitcher and Brooke is a heck of a good pitcher.”
With Hannah Hliboki providing stellar relief pitching, the Grizzlies capitalized on walks and aggressive baserunning to chip away at the deficit.
They finally tied it at 7-all on Kylie Stewart’s RBI triple to right-centerfield in the fifth. Stewart then broke for the plate on a short wild pitch and was called safe on an extremely close play, giving the Grizzlies (4-0, 7-1) their first lead.
Goldsmith quickly got Elma (0-2, 1-3) even with her second home run of the contest — a shot far over the left-field fence in the top of the sixth.
Hillard’s towering fly fell in front of the onrushing Elma left fielder for a leadoff double in Hoquiam’s half of the sixth. Advancing to third on Bradley’s infield out, Hilliard also scored on a wild pitch, sliding around Goldsmith’s tag at the plate.
After a baserunning mistake blunted an Elma threat in the seventh, Hliboki speared Peyton Elliott’s line drive back to the circle for the final out.
Hliboki , who came on in relief of starter Bradley in the third inning of the opener, kept the ball down and around the plate for the remainder of the doubleheader.
While registering only one strikeout during her 10 innings in the circle, the sophomore right-hander also issued only one walk and benefited from outstanding defense — particularly from shortstop Quercia, third baseman Paladin and center fielder Lydia LaLonde.
“She stopped the bleeding,” Reynvaan said of Hliboki.
Goldsmith, in contrast, struck out 11 but was plagued by control problems. The senior right-hander walked six and hit a batter.
Four Hoquiam runs scored on either wild pitches or passed balls.
Goldsmith and teammate Sydney Smythe had three hits apiece, but the Eagles were unable to cash in on several scoring opportunities.
“Their hits were contagious and we didn’t get hits at the right time,” Elma coach Janene Todd said. “We had bases loaded and didn’t execute. I’m sure we’ll see them at district.”
Grizzlies 18, Eagles 3
Maintaining its momentum from the opening game, Hoquiam ended the suspense quickly in a nightcap shortened to five innings by the 10-run mercy rule.
Four consecutive hits — Bradley’s double and singles by Paladin, Ellie Quercia and Hliboki — ignited a three-run second inning and the Grizzlies knocked out starter Ashley Cooper with a 10-run fourth that featured two-run homers by Paladin and Hilliard.
Bradley finished with two doubles and a pair of singles, while Quecia and Brandi Creviston added three hits each for the Grizzlies. Pinch-hitter Taylor Walker delivered a bases-clearing triple in the fifth.
Mac Miller provided the Elma highlight with a solo homer in the fourth inning.
Both teams will be idle until after spring break. The Grizzlies visit Pe Ell in a makeup game April 15 before visiting Montesano two days later. The Eagles travel to Rochester on April 17.
Elma 160 001 0 — 8 10 3 Hoquiam 003 321 x — 9 9 1
Goldsmith and Burbidge; Bradley, Hliboki (3) and Stewart.
RBI: Elma — Goldsmith 4, S. Smythe, Shumate 2. Hoquiam — Hilliard, Bradley, Quercia, Stewart. Three hits: Elma — Goldsmith, S. Smythe. Two hits: Elma — Anglin. Hoquiam — LaLonde, Wakefield. Home runs: Elma — Goldsmith 2, Shumate. Triples: Hoquiam — Stewart. Doubles: Elma — S. Smythe. Hoquiam — Hilliard, Wakefield.
Winning pitcher — Hliboki (walked none; struck out one). Losing pitcher — Goldsmith (walked six; struck out 11).
Hoquiam 032 (10)3 — 18 15 1 Elma 001 11 — 3 7 4
Hliboki and Burnett; Cooper, A. Cristelli (4) and Elliott.
RBI: Hoquiam — Walker 3, Creviston 3, LaLonde, Hilliard 2, Bradley 2, Paladin 2, Quercia, Hliboki. Elma — Miller, Shumate, I. Cristelli. Four hits: Hoquiam — Bradley. Three hits: Hoquiam — Quercia, Creviston. Two hits: Hoquiam — Paladin. Home runs: Hoquiam — Hilliard, Paladin. Elma — Miller. Triples: Hoquiam — Walker. Elma — S. Smythe. Doubles: Hoquiam — Bradley 2. Elma — I. Cristelli.
Winning pitcher — Hliboki (walked one; struck out none). Losing pitcher — Cooper (walked five; struck out one).