WENATCHEE — The Wenatchee Panther fastpitch softball team finished off the regular season in fine fashion on Friday as they dispatched the winless Davis Pirates, 12-2 and 21-4. Both games ended in five innings, due to the 10-run mercy rule.
The victories were important because it gave Wenatchee sole possession of fourth place in the Big 9. That means they will host a district play-in game next Tuesday at Walla Walla Point Park.
“It’s nice to have a home game starting the playoffs because if you lose, you’re done. It’s nice to be at home with our crowd behind us. Hopefully, we can have another good game,” said Wenatchee Head Coach Greg Russ.
In game one, senior Mikayla Michael was in the circle for Wenatchee against Davis’s top hurler, senior Taylor Yates.
Davis took an early 1-0 lead as the leadoff hitter, Arianna Noel, was hit by the pitch and came around to score on a throwing error. Wenatchee took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the frame as junior Kristen Sanford reached on a bunt single and scored on an error. Junior Olivia Ramirez reached on an error and scored on a wild pitch.
The Panthers tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the second as junior Mady Peters reached on an error and scored on the Sanford groundout. Sophomore Kat Smith doubled and scored on an error. Ramirez singled scored on an error. Wenatchee led 5-1.
Wenatchee batted around the in the bottom of the third inning as 10 girls came to the plate. The Panthers scored five runs on three hits, two walks, a hit batter, and one error. Smith had an RBI single. Ramirez had an RBI groundout and senior Beth Chvilicek had an RBI single.
The lead for Wenatchee was now 10-1.
Davis rallied for a run in the top of fourth on two hits to cut the lead to 10-2. Wenatchee scored twice in the bottom of the fourth to push the lead to 12-2 as Peters walked and scored on the Sanford in-the-park home run.
Davis went quietly in the top of the fifth to end the game. Wenatchee out-hit Davis 7-4. Davis had 5 errors and the Panthers just one.
Michael pitched 5 innings, giving up 1 earned run on 4 hits with 6 strikeouts and a walk and a hit batter. Yates pitched 4 innings, giving up 5 earned runs on 7 hits with 4 strikeouts, 3 walks, and 2 hit batters.
Sanford was 2-for-3 with a homer, 3 runs, and 3 RBIs. Smith went 2-for-3 with a double, 2 runs and an RBI.
Junior Miss Bennett was in the circle for Wenatchee in game two. Diminutive freshman Sylvia McCluskey was in the circle for Davis.
Like game one, Davis took an early 1-0 lead that short-lived. They scored on two hits and a walk. In the bottom of the frame, Wenatchee batted around, sending 15 girls to the plate. They scored 11 runs on 7 hits, 2 walks, a hit batter, and 3 errors.
Chvilicek had an RBI double. Smith had an RBI single. Sanford and Bennett each had 2-run singles. Sophomore Ashley Simmons had 2-run double. Wenatchee now led 11-1.
Davis scored in the top of the second on a single and two walks to cut the lead to 11-2. Wenatchee broke out the clobbering sticks again the bottom of the second, batting around again, sending 14 girls to the plate.
Another 10 runs were scored on 7 hits and 4 walks. Peters had an RBI single and a 3-run homer. Ramirez had had RBI bases-loaded walk. Simmons had a 3-run double. Senior Kalista Strickland had an RBI single. Wenatchee now led 21-2.
After that, Russ started subbing in players. Davis scored two more runs to the complete the scoring as the game ended in five innings, 21-4.
“We had a lot of good hits today. It was nice to see the production through the lineup in both games,” Russ said. “Mady Peters had the home run in the second game. It was a good all-around effort by the team. Mikayla pitching the first game and Missy in the second game. Both went the distance. It was really nice to see.”
Wenatchee out-hit Davis 14-5. The Pirates had 5 errors, Wenatchee just one. Bennett pitched 5 innings, giving up 4 earned runs on 5 hits with 1 strikeout and 5 walks and a hit batter. McClusky pitched 2 innings, giving up 10 earned runs on 14 hits with 6 walks and a hit batter. Yates pitched 2 innings, giving up no runs with 4 strikeouts and 1 walk.
Sanford was 1-for-3 with 2 runs and 2 RBIs. Peters was 2-for-2 with a HR, 2 runs and 4 RBIs.
Wenatchee improved to 7-5 in the Big 9 and 9-10 overall. Davis fell to 0-12 in the conference and 2-16 overall. The wins were important to keep Wenatchee in fourth place.
“It secures fourth place for us so we don’t have to go into some kind of tiebreaker. It looks like we’re going on Tuesday,” Russ said.
Wenatchee’s probable opponent looks to be Eisenhower, which finished in fifth place. The Panthers played Ike three times this season, winning a non-conference game at home, 11-1 on April 30. They split a doubleheader at Eisenhower on May 3, 14-8 and 12-15.
“We went 2-1 against them. That is something we learn from. We’ll look at some stuff on Monday and try to be as prepared as we can on Tuesday,” Russ said. “I think we match up with them well. You can’t overlook them. They have taken us once this year. We have to be prepared to give it everything we have so that we can move on.”
Ian Dunn: 664-7157