WENATCHEE — Rivalry games usually bring out the best in teams and it sure did on Tuesday when Eastmont visited Wenatchee for a key doubleheader in the Big 9 Conference. The winds were blowing hard and the girls were swinging hard and that made for a lot of hard hit balls and home runs.
In the circle for Wenatchee in game one was senior Mikayla Michael. In the circle for Eastmont was sophomore Taylor Files.
Eastmont came out firing in the first inning with six runs on seven hits, one walk, and one error. Senior Kolbie Voshall and junior Kylee Cordell had RBI singles. Sophomore Maya McGuire was 1-for-2 with a run and 2 RBIs.
The Wildcats went up 8-0 in the second inning. Senior Kenzie Young singled to open the inning, then Voshall belted a two-run homer. Eastmont would score three more times in the fourth inning. Voshall had another 2-run homer. Cordell had a fielder’s choice RBI.
Eastmont led 11-0.
Wenatchee got on the board with a couple runs in the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore Ashley Simmons singled, then senior Beth Chvilicek hit a 2-run bomb. That cut the lead to 11-2.
The Panthers plated three more runs in the fifth as Olivia Ramirez and Simmons singled. Then, Chvilicek belted a 3-run blast to cut the Wildcat lead to 11-5. Wenatchee scored again in the bottom of the seventh as Missy Bennett singled, then scored on the 2-out RBI single by Michael.
Eastmont won game one 11-6.
“When these games happen between Eastmont and Wenatchee it’s going to be down to the wire every time. That was really good softball by both teams tonight. Our defense kept us in it. We made the plays we needed to make,” said Eastmont Head Coach Cliff Johnson.
Eastmont outhit Wenatchee 18-13. The Wildcats had 2 errors, while Wenatchee had one. Michael pitched 7 innings, giving up 5 earned runs on 18 hits with 1 strikeout and 1 walk. Files pitched 7 innings, giving up 5 earned runs on 13 hits with 5 strikeouts and no walks.
Wenatchee Head Coach Greg Russ said his girls were amped up for the rivalry games.
“Emotions are high. The girls are a little amped up at the start and had to settle down a little bit. They settled down and got their hits. In the end, we just came up short,” Russ said.
Eastmont’s Kolbie Voshall was 4-for-4 with 2HR, 3 runs, and 5 RBIs. Wenatchee’s Chvilicek was 2-for-4 with 2HR, 2 runs, and 5 RBIs.
In game two, sophomore southpaw Zoe Sundet was in the circle for Eastmont. Michael started game two for Wenatchee.
McGuire led off game two with a home run for Eastmont. Then, Voshall blasted her third homer of the afternoon, a 3-run blast which put the Wildcats up 4-0 in the first inning.
Wenatchee loaded the bases with two out in the second inning, but Sundet forced Kristen Sanford to fly out to left field. The Panthers picked up a run in the third as Ramirez singled and scored on the fielder’s choice by Bennett. That cut the lead to 4-1.
Eastmont rallied for five runs in the top of the fourth. Sundet had a 3-run homer, while Voshall had an RBI single. The Wildcats now led 9-1.
Mady Peters opened the bottom of the fourth with a single. Kat Smith then doubled. Peters scored on the Ramirez RBI single, while Smith scored on the Bennett fielder’s choice. That cut the lead to 9-3.
Bennett came into pitch for Wenatchee in the top of the fifth. Eastmont junior Kyah Stanger opened the frame with a homer. Three more runs came into score a hit, hit batter and two walks.
Eastmont led 13-3.
Wenatchee came roaring back in the bottom of the fifth with five runs on six hits and one walk. Peters had an RBI single. Sanford had a 2-run single. That cut the lead to 13-8.
In the top of the sixth, Eastmont scored again. Stanger reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on the Emilee Craddock single. The Wildcats now led 14-8. The Panthers came back with another run in the bottom of the sixth, as senior Kalista Strickland homered to cut the lead to 14-9.
Michael came back to pitch a scoreless top of the seventh. Wenatchee rallied for a couple runs in the bottom of the seventh, but Sundet induced Michael to groundout to end the game. Ramirez and Simmons each had RBI singles.
Eastmont won 14-10.
“Defensively we did well. Wenatchee can hit the ball and they scored enough to make us nervous for sure. We were able to hold them off and come back with the wins,” Johnson said. “We had a home run out of our number nine hitter in the second game. We’re swinging hard and running into some balls. It’s a good thing. It’s the consistency and understanding what a quality at-bat is.”
Johnson said he was happy with the way his team played offensively and defensively. He felt the pitching was good enough to keep them in the games. His cleanup hitter Voshall had a huge day.
In the second game, she went 3-for-4 with a HR, 3 runs and 6 RBIs.
“It was a monster day. This is her senior year, playing on Wenatchee’s home field. She rose to the occasion offensively and defensively. She had some good plays. I’m so happy she can finish her career, last game against the rival, like that,” Johnson said of Voshall.
Wenatchee outhit Eastmont 17-12. The Panthers had 2 errors, while Eastmont had one. Michael pitched 5 innings for Wenatchee, giving up 6 earned runs on 6 hits with 1 strikeout and 1 walk. Bennett pitched 2 innings, giving up 5 earned runs on 3 hits with no walks and no strikeouts. Sundet pitched 7 innings, giving up 10 earned runs on 17 hits with 1 strikeout and 3 walks.
“Mikayla did a very solid job. She was hitting her spots. There’s not much more I can ask from her,” Russ said of Michael. “Bennett is a solid number two in relief. We also could have put in Mekhia Hans in there from JV. She’s coming along well. Missy has done a good job in relief.”
Russ was also pleased with his hitters, feeling they are swinging the bats well.
“It’s something we work on at practice almost. It has shown in the games. They are swinging really well. The winds were pushing it a little bit but there were also some good hits. The girls have really been working on their hitting and it showed today,” Russ said. “Errors caught us in both first innings. The girls showed their heart and battled back to the end.”
Eastmont improves to 7-3 in the Big-9, 11-6 overall. The Wildcats are in third place behind Moses Lake (7-1) and West Valley (8-2). West Valley is at Moses Lake for a doubleheader on Friday, while Eastmont is at Sunnyside for the twin bill.
If Moses Lake sweeps and Eastmont sweeps, the Wildcats could slip into second place and a bye in the first round of districts.
“These two wins are important. We’ve become Moses Lake fans and hope they can take it to West Valley,” Johnson said. “We need to sweep those guys and we need Moses Lake to sweep West Valley. Then, we would be the two seed. We would sit back and see who we play. We have a little time off. We’ll go to work on Friday and hopefully Moses Lake on Saturday.”
Wenatchee dropped to 5-5 in a tie for fourth place with Eisenhower. The Panthers finish up the regular season at home on Friday with a doubleheader against Davis, which is 0-10 in the Big 9.
“They haven’t won a conference game but you can never overlook a team like that. You never know. They could come out and beat the heck out of the ball. We have to be ready to play the games in front of us,” Russ said.
The third and fourth place teams in the Big 9 host play-in games against the fifth and sixth place teams. Wenatchee is in good position to host a play-in game on May 14.
Ian Dunn: 664-7157