PORTLAND — The Wenatchee Valley College softball team won its first two games at the Northwest Atheltic Association of Community Colleges tournament Friday at the Owens Sports Complex at Delta Park in Portland.
The Knights began their day by beating Grays Harbor 6-2, then crushed East Region rival Columbia Basin 18-3.
“It was a good day for us, a great start to the tournament,” head coach Shelly Pflugrath said. “We did a lot of things well.”
Second-seeded WVC will take on Douglas, which upset Bellevue on Friday, at 12:15 p.m. Saturday.
“I’ve never (faced) Douglas,” Pflugrath said. “Every game down here is tough. They’re very athletic; they remind me of us. They’re scrappy and have good pitching. It will be a battle.”
The Knights’ offense struggled a bit against the Chokers and their pitcher, Jill Johnson, who led the NWAACC in strikeouts this season. Johnson struck out 10 batters, but walked five and gave up four hits. WVC tallied four runs in the third inning to take a 4-1 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“We played some small ball to push some runs across,” Pflugrath said. “We’ve talked all year about having some options when we’re facing good pitching. We dropped some bunts down and (forced the Chokers to make) some errors, and we made good adjustments at the plate.”
Hailey Bator allowed two hits — both of them were home runs from Amanda Anderson — and struck out 14 batters in six innings for WVC.
The Knights didn’t have any problems beating the Hawks for the fifth time this season in the later contest. WVC scored four runs in the first, six in the second and eight more in the third to break the game open.
Kirstie Thomas had four hits for the Knights, and Riliey Cullip recorded a double and a grand slam. Bator and Thomas combined to allow just three Columbia Basin hits.
“It’s hard to keep beating a team over and over again,” Pflugrath said. “I told our position players before the game, ‘Our sophomore pitchers are throwing their ninth game (in the past two seasons) against (Columbia Basin), and we can’t rely on our pitching. We need to hit.’ Eighteen runs, that’s pretty good.”