TOUCHET — After a couple of non-competitive Southeast 1B District softball doubleheaders earlier in the week, Touchet had its hands full with visiting Liberty Christian here Thursday.
Nevertheless, the Indians rallied for a 3-2 victory in the first game and came away with a 7-4 win in the second game to finish up the regular season with a 12-6 record overall and a share of the league championship with a 9-1 mark. Colton also finished 9-1 in league play.
“I knew coming in that Liberty Christian was going to be a real good matchup,” Indians coach Gary Dorman said. “They always bring a lot of good softball players, and they didn’t disappoint.”
The Patriots brought a lot of motivation as well. Had Liberty Christian swept the Indians Thursday, it would have claimed second place in the league standings with an 8-2 record and guaranteed itself an automatic berth in the district tournament.
Instead, the Patriots will face Lacrosse-Washtucna next Wednesday in a loser-out playoff game in Colton. The winner of that game will take on Colton in a game to determine seeding into the district tournament that will be contested May 24 either in Touchet or Colton.
In the other half of next Wednesday’s seeding tournament in Touchet, Pomeroy takes on Rosalia in a loser-out game. The winner faces Touchet to decide seeding into district.
Liberty Christian’s Katie Peterson held the Indians’ offense in check in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader. She allowed just four hits, struck out one and walked one. And she had a lot of help from her defense.
“We did a good job of hitting the ball,” Dorman said. “But we were hitting it right at them and they were making the plays.”
A passed ball enabled Liberty Christian to break a scoreless tie in the fourth inning of the first game. The Indians tied it in the bottom of the inning when Makayla Bishop singled and circled the bases on a passed ball and two wild pitches.
But the Indians found themselves trailing again in the fifth after Liberty Christian’s Sarah Croskey doubled, advanced to third on Reena Leora’s single and scored on a passed ball. Touchet retaliated as Jennifer Aceves stroked a one-out single, Cierra Joe McKeown walked and, after a double steal, Melissa Creek plated one run with a sacrifice fly and McKeown scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch.
Bishop was stellar in the circle for the Indians as she chalked up 11 strikeouts, walked just one and scattered five hits.
The Indians caught up to Peterson in the second game.
“We hit the ball about the same as we had in the first game,” Dorman said. “But we started to sneak a few of them through. The balls we hit started to find the ground instead of the opposing team’s gloves.”
Bishop and Morgan Caldwell had three hits each to pace an 11-hit Touchet offense, and Harlie Schaeffer was steady in the circle as she allowed six hits. And the Indians backed her with stellar defense.
“We made a couple of key plays in the seventh inning to keep them in check,” Dorman said. “Cierra Joe (McKeown) snagged a short-hop smoker at shortstop and Melissa Creek made an outstanding running catch in center field.”
High winds created a dust storm in the first game, Dorman noted, and a slow but steady drizzle marked the second game.
“There was never enough rain where the game was in jeopardy,” Dorman said. “But about a half hour after the game it really opened up.”
Liberty Christ 000 110 0 — 2 5 2
Touchet 000 120 x — 3 4 2
Peterson and Croskey; Bishop and Aceves.
Hits — LC: Croskey 2, Loera 2, Turner; Touchet: McKeown, Creek, Bishop, Aceves.
Liberty Christ 200 100 1 — 4 6 2
Touchet 310 021 x — 7 11 3
Peterson and Croskey; Schaeffer and Bishop.
Hits — LC: Lorea 2, Peterson 2, Steele, Turner; Touchet: McKeown, Schaeffer, Bishop 3, Cardwell 3, Gould, Fenton, Aceves.