WALLA WALLA — The defending Class 5A Oregon state softball champion Pendleton Buckaroos put on a champion-like rally to come from four runs down in the top of the seventh inning and the Bucks went on to pull out a 10-9, nine-inning non-conference softball win over Walla Walla High School here Tuesday.
“They are a great team,” Blue Devil coach Kate Keyes said. “They have good pitching and their defense is solid. They put the ball in play and put the pressure on us. It was great competition and we love to see that.”
Jacie McDaniels got the Blue Devils started with a two-out, run-scoring double in the home first. Jordy Storm ripped her first of three hits with a lead-off triple to open the Wa-Hi third. Maddy Aichele and Ellie Rassbach contributed RBI singles as the Blue Devils scored three times and took a 4-1.
The Bucks’ Darian Lindsey drove in two with a single and Pendleton cut the Wa-Hi lead to 4-3 after four.
Kate Ferenz, Wa-Hi’s starter in the circle, completed her four-inning stint with a five-strikeout, three-hit performance and left with a 4-3 lead.
“She (Ferenz) did a great job,” Keyes said. “We saw them earlier in the season (an 11-9 Blue Devil win) and Ellie (Rassbach) threw the whole game. It was good to have Kate come in and show them something different.”
Pendleton got it even in the sixth with an unearned run, but Wa-Hi answered in the home sixth. Kendsey Hill broke the tie with a run-scoring single. McDaniels followed and drove in another with a single. Rassbach capped the four-run Wa-Hi sixth with a two-RBI single to right, and Wa-Hi led 8-4 with three outs to go.
Back-to-back doubles from Eva Olivera and Ellie Richards started the Pendleton seventh. Add two Wa-Hi errors and a two-run single from Darian Lindsey, and the Bucks scored five times to take a 9-8 lead heading to Wa-Hi’s last at-bat.
Carly Clark was plucked by a pitch — her second of three times being hit by a pitch — to lead off the Wa-Hi seventh.
Following a Ferenz sacrifice bunt, Lauren Likes came off the bench to deliver a single to score Likes and knot the game at 9-9. The Blue Devils loaded the bases with one out and Pendleton’s Marissa Jones, who went all the way in the circle, went to 3-0 to Hill Jones got a grounder to short that forced Likes at the plate, and a fly-out to end the Wa-Hi threat and send the game to extra innings.
“We did a good job of putting the bat on the ball and putting pressure on,” Keyes said. “When we had the opportunity, we just didn’t convert, and they did.”
A scoreless eighth inning led to starting the ninth with a base runner at second base, per rule.
A sacrifice bunt and Darian Lindsey’s RBI-single plated what proved to be the winning Pendleton run.
In the Blue Devil ninth, Wa-Hi got its runner to third, but Jones retired the next three to cap the 10-9 Buckaroo win.
“We would like to see the win,” Keyes said. “But the competition and that kind of atmosphere is good for the girls. It’s how we use that experience to get better tomorrow that counts.”
Wa-Hi goes to spring break at 3-2 overall, 2-0 in the Mid-Columbia Conference, and returns to MCC play April 12 with a doubleheader at Kamiakin.
PENDLETON 10, WA-Hi 9
Pendleton 001 201 501 — 10 11 3
Wa-Hi 103 004 100 — 9 13 5
Jones and Spencer; Ferenz, Rassbach (5) and Hill.
Hits — Pend: Lehnert 2, S. Lindsey 3, D. Lindsey 3, Olivera 2, Richards; Wa-Hi: McDaniels 2, Smyth, Ferenz, Storm 3, Aichele, Hill 2, Rassbach 2, Likes.