Pitching leads Wa-Hi softball to sweep

Wa-Hi's Hope Klicker and Alyson Ambler allow West Valley one run and six hits in two games Friday.

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Attempting to rush back to third after a caught line-drive, Wa-Hi's Megan Ocanaz (right) takes a gloved jab to the face from West Valley third baseman Tiffany Catron (left) during the teams' second game Friday afternoon.

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Wa-Hi shortstop Alicia baker (left) eyes a double play, tagging West Valley base runner Hannah Souers (right) between second and third base before firing to first for the second out.

WALLA WALLA - Wa-Hi's softball team donated over $1,300 to breast cancer research in honor of cancer survivor Carol Peterson here Friday when they took to the field ranked No. 1 in state 4A softball standings.

They kept the unbeaten streak alive at 13-0 with a sweep of West Valley in Cascade Division girls softball action.

Wa-Hi won the opener 10-0 behind Hope Klicker's one-hitter and completed the sweep with a 10-1 nightcap win, on a 16-hit attack.

"When you've got great pitching, kids that can hit, and you've got good defense, things are going to go well for you," Blue Devil coach Jerry Humphreys said.

Klicker struck out the side to open game one.

Jill McDaniels led off the Blue Devils with a single. Andrea Hamada followed with a single to left and one out later Klicker reached on a fielder's choice. Vicki Reardon delivered a two-run single and Wa-Hi had the lead for good.

RBI ground balls from Tara Garcia and Paige Pontarolo gave the Blue Devils a 4-0 lead after one.

"That (first inning) was a big momentum builder," McDaniels said. "This was a big game because they are ranked sixth in 3A. To come out and score four runs on them got our confidence up."

That was more than Klicker needed. She struck out eight of the first nine West Valley hitters she faced.

Klicker took a perfect game into the fifth inning before Molly Rubidoux broke up the no-hitter with an one-out single to right, but Klicker retired the next two to complete the 10-0 win.

Klicker finished with a five-inning, 10-strikeout one hitter.

"She (Klicker) is an amazing pitcher," second baseman McDaniels said. "They couldn't get the bat on the ball until the end of the game. If they get a hit, it's like ‘you're going to strike out the next one.' We stay positive all the time."

"A tremendous outing," Humphreys said of Klicker's performance. "She doesn't have to throw hard all the time because she can move the ball around. But, when she has to throw a heater, she can zip it in there with anybody."

Pontarolo led off the Wa-Hi fourth with a single, her first of two hits in the inning, and would score the first of six Blue Devil runs. McDaniels' RBI double and Hamada's safety squeeze highlighted the uprising.

West Valley scored its first and only run on the day to open the second game.

Danielle Porter led off with a double and Hannah Souers' singled her home for a 1-0 Ram lead.

"We've been behind three times (Southridge, Richland, and West Valley)," Humphreys said. "The kids know they can hit the ball and that the game is not over in one inning. All they have to do is just battle back and do their job and come through for each other."

McDaniels led off with a single. Courtney Zaro's grounder hit McDaniels for the first out. Alyson Ambler singled, then Pontarolo ran for Ambler.

Ambler pitched for Wa-Hi in game two.

Reardon's grounder was speared by a diving Emily Shepard at short, but Reardon beat the throw, Zaro scored and Pontarolo came right behind her with the second run for a 2-1 Wa-Hi lead.

"It (the first-inning rally) helped me mentally," Ambler said. "Knowing that my team has my back and that they will put up runs for me even though I gave up one."

That first inning was it for the Rams, as Ambler blanked West Valley on three hits the rest of the way. She allowed five hits and had eight strikeouts.

"It was hard to adjust," Ambler said of her first inning. "We found the groove and she (Wa-Hi catcher Reardon) realized what was working and what wasn't. My change up and my rise ball were on."

Wa-Hi tacked on eight unanswered runs to finish with a 10-1 win. Megan Ocanaz finished with three slap infield singles, Taryn Fortune, McDaniels, Reardon, and Ambler - one a seventh-inning triple - each had two hits, as Wa-Hi finished with 16 hits.

Klicker and Ambler combined to limit West Valley to one run and six hits on the day.

"It's fun to play behind them," McDaniels said of the lefty-righty tandem. "Sometimes you have to tell them, ‘Can you please let them hit the ball' because it gets kind of boring out there. They're great pitchers."

Wa-Hi takes its No. 1 ranking and undefeated season to Yakima to play Eisenhower Tuesday.

"It (No. 1 ranking) hasn't been (a distraction)," Humphreys said. "They're excited about it, but it's not now that it matters about being No. 1, it's May 29th (finals of the state tourney)."

Wa-Hi plays at Eisenhower at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in Yakima.

First Game

West Valley 000 30 - 0 1 3

Wa-Hi 400 6x - 10 9 0

Rubidoux and Wetzel; Klicker and Reardon.

Hits - WV: Rubidoux; Wa-Hi: McDaniels 2, Hamada, Reardon 2, Ambler, Hill, Pontarolo 2.

Second Game

West Valley 100 000 0 - 1 5 2

Wa-Hi 222 013 x - 10 16 0

Rubidoux and Roberts; Ambler and Reardon, Hill (5).

Hits - WV: Souers 2, Porter, Shepard, Biehl; Wa-Hi: McDaniels 2, Zaro, Ambler 2, Reardon 2, Fortune 2, Ocanaz 3, Baker, Klicker, Hill, Bezdicek.

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