(GENO LUDWIG/Chewelah Independent)
IMPRESSIVE START: Chewelah softball looking strong in late start to 2B spring season…
Two top-tier undefeated softball teams faced-off down in Colbert last Friday afternoon to determine which would stand alone at the top of the Northeast 2B League’s northern division. Chewelah went into the game with a 4-0 record. Northwest Christian was 6-0 and ranked first in the state. The fourth-ranked Lady Cougars put up a strong fight, but the Lady Crusaders came out on top in both games with winning scores of 5-3 and 12-7 to remain unbeaten. The two teams will surely meet again in the league tournament.
The opening game of the doubleheader could have gone either way. The score was tied at 3-3 in the top of the sixth inning, but it was Northwest Christian that was able to bring home two runs to claim the 5-3 win.
The Lady Crusaders scored first with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Chewelah quickly replied with a run in its second at-bat to tie the score at one-all when Baylee Sobosky batted in Maddie Koler. However, NWC added two more runs in the third inning to take a 3-1 lead.
The Cougars worked themselves back onto the scoreboard with runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Zandy Nelson pounded a pitch into right field for a triple in the top of the fifth inning and was brought home by Abby Fuller. Then, in Chewelah’s sixth trip to the plate, Kennedy Robison singled through the right side of the Crusader infield and came home on a double into the left-centerfield gap by Koler. The two runs evened the score at three runs apiece.
The NWC response was fatal. Leadoff hitter Faith Iverson hit the second pitch over the left field fence to give the Crusaders a one run lead. Another run scored on a Cougar infield error widened the NWC lead to 5-3.
Jessi Macrae singled and immediately stole second base in the top of the seventh inning for the Cougars, but she was marooned there as the Crusaders held on for the 5-3 win.
Chewelah had five hits, including the triple by Nelson and the double by Koler.
Fuller was labeled with the loss. She struck out nine Crusader batters in her six innings in the circle and allowed only three earned runs. Both of NWC’s winning runs were unearned.
NWC 12, Chewelah 7
Northwest Christian came from behind to win the second game. Chewelah held a 7-5 lead after four innings of play, but the Crusaders scored seven runs in their last two at-bats to sweep the league doubleheader by a 12-7 final score.
The Lady Cougars scored first with three runs in the opening inning. Bailey Smith triggered the rally with a leadoff walk, followed by a single over second base from Leah Carpenter. Robison’s double down the left field line scored Smith and Carpenter was batted in by Koler. Sobosky singled through shortstop to score Koler and was bunted over to second base by Nelson, but a fly out ended the rally before she could score. However, the Crusaders responded with four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 4-3 lead.
Carpenter hit a leadoff triple into deep centerfield to begin the Chewelah half of the third inning. She scored on a NWC error to tie the score at 4-4. The Cougars then took the lead in the fourth inning with a three-run at-bat. The two-out attack was ignited by Smith’s single through the left side of the infield that moved Erica Tindal into scoring position at second base. Tindal scored on Carpenter’s double up the middle, her third hit of the game. A single from Robison brought Carpenter home to return the lead to the Chewelah side of the scoreboard by a 7-5 margin.
Nonetheless, the Crusaders were able to come from behind in the last two innings to salvage the 12-7 league win, increasing their unbeaten record to eight straight victories. Chewelah fell to 4-2.
Carpenter led the Cougars at the plate with a single, a double and a triple. Smith and Robison each had two hits.
Chewelah 14, KF 1
Leah Carpenter got more than enough support from her teammates for her pitching debut for Chewelah last Tuesday. While Carpenter was throwing her first varsity victory, the Lady Cougars hammered 15 hits to notch a 14-1 league win. Carpenter scattered six hits and allowed one run while striking out three. The victory gave Chewelah a sweep of the doubleheader and increased the Cougar season record to four consecutive wins.
Home runs by Bailee Sobosky and Erica Tindal highlighted the Cougar attack at the plate. Sobosky hit a two-run dinger over the left field fence in the opening inning to give Chewelah an early 4-0 lead. Tindal sent a solo shot over the fence at nearly the same location in the second inning to widen the score to 5-0.
Chewelah scored runs in every inning until the game ended on the 10-run rule. A trio of doubles from Zandy Nelson, Kennedy Robison and Maddie Koler put the first two Cougar runs in the scorebook. Robison’s two-bagger scored Nelson, Koler’s double scored Robison, and Koler came home on Sobosky’s home run brought home the first four runs. Tindal’s homer provided a run in the second inning.
A single by Sobosky and a double off the bat of Tindal provided the power at the plate for three Chewelah runs in the third inning for a 6-0 lead. Hits by Nelson, Carpenter, Koler and Abby Fuller brought home three more runs in the fourth inning, widening the Chewelah lead to 9-1. Nelson and Koler hit their second doubles of the game in the fifth Cougar at-bat, scoring another three runs to achieve the 10-run split needed to end the game at 14-1.
Nelson and Koler both batted 3-for-5 and batted in three Cougar runs. Bailey Smith, Sobosky and Tindal each batted 2-for-4. Koler hit three doubles, batted in three runs and scored three times. As a team, Chewelah batted .441 with 15 hits in 34 trips to the plate.
Chewelah 9, KF 3
Abby Fuller batted 5-for-4 with two runs batted in and threw a complete game five-hitter in the opener to defeat the Bulldogs 9-3. The Cougar right-hander had a shaky start through the first two innings but found her rhythm through the remainder of the game for her third straight win of the season.
Koler hammered the big hit of the day with a two-run rocket shot over the deep centerfield fence. She was one of three Cougars who finished the game with two hits. The other two were Sobosky and Robison. Sobosky hit two singles and batted in two runs. Robison singled twice and scored two runs. Chewelah overpowered the Bulldogs at the plate with 11 total hits to notch their first league triumph of the season.
Fuller had not thrown to a batter in more than two weeks because of game cancellations and spring break. She walked four batters and hit another with an inside pitch during the first two innings. Then, she settled in and threw five scoreless innings without yielding another walk or run.
Chewelah won the game in its first parade to the plate. The Cougars sent 10 batters to the box and five of them scored for an early 5-0 lead. Hits by Sobosky and Fuller did most of the damage. Jessi Macrae’s sacrifice bunt that scored two runs accounted for the game-winning RBI.
The Cougars did not score again until the fifth inning when Fuller’s double into rightfield scored Sobosky from second base for a 6-3 lead. Chewelah hits finally found gaps in the Bulldog defense in the final inning. Robison singled and came home on Koler’s home run. Singles from Sobosky, Carpenter and Becca Bennett added to the barrage for the 9-3 league win.