PENDLETON — The Walla Walla High School softball team welcomed in the Kate Keyes era by blasting six home runs on the way to an 11-9 non-conference girls softball win here Friday over Pendleton High School.
“I’m proud of the way we put the ball in play,” first-year Blue Devil coach Keyes said. “We showed up ready to go offensively.”
A Jordi Storm walk was followed by Kendsey Hill’s first of two home runs as Wa-Hi jumped to a 2-0 lead after the Blue Devil first.
Wa-Hi continued to bomb away as Mattie Smyth hit her first career homer and Jacie McDaniels followed as the two went back-to-back in a four-run Wa-Hi third and the Blue Devils led 6-2 after three.
Ellie Rassbach and Storm got into the homer act for the Blue Devils before Hill capped the homer barrage with her second in a four-run Wa-Hi sixth.
Rassbach, who went all the way in the circle for Wa-Hi, rolled into the home sixth with an 11-3 lead. Pendleton, who banged out 11 hits on the day, refused to go quietly. The Bucks took advantage of some Blue Devil defensive lapses and hit the ball to score six runs in the home sixth to get within 11-9.
Rassbach answered as she closed out Pendleton in the seventh to move Wa-Hi to 1-0 on the year.
“Ellie was awesome,” Keyes said. “She and (catcher) Kendsey (Hill) worked well together. She had great presence and hit her spots. She stayed focused (in the sixth) and gave us great leadership on the field.”
Hill led the Blue Devils with four hits on the day as Wa-Hi pounded out 13 hits, but committed five errors.
“We have to work on our defense,” Keyes said. “We can do a better job of that.”
Wa-Hi hosts Connell Tuesday March 26 in a non-conference game to open its home season.
WA-HI 11, PENDLETON 9
Wa-Hi 204 014 0 — 11 13 5
Pendleton 020 106 0 — 9 11 5
Rassbach and Hill; Jones, Richards (6) and Spencer.
HR — Wa-Hi (Hill 2, Storm, Rassbach, Smyth, McDaniels).
Hits — Wa-Hi: Hill 4, Storm 2, Aichele 1, Rassbach 1, McDaniels 1, Smyth 2, Clark 1, Likes 1; Pendleton: Shay 1, Daring 1, Larson 2, Spencer 2, Richards 1, Weissensuh 1, Leonart 1, Graff 2.