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Win, loss for Buff softball

by: Photo By Gary Lindberg - Kara Katchia has given Madras solid defense at first base and produced runs at bat this season.

The optimism of an opening Intermountain Conference victory disappeared with a loss for the Madras softball team.
   The White Buffalos opened with a 5-2 home win against Bend but fell 7-0 at Summit.
   "I'm still not sure what happened at Summit," Madras coach Shawna McConnell said. "We didn't show up with the kind of intensity we needed to. This league is so competitive you have to show up with your A game every time."
   The Buffs have that challenge in traveling to Hermiston for an IMC doubleheader. Madras also hosted Mountain View on Tuesday, April 8 (played after press time).
   Summit 7, Madras 0: A four-run fifth inning ended any comeback hopes the Buffs had in the first IMC road game. The Storm led 2-0 with runs in the second and third innings.
   That turned out to be plenty for Summit starter Kylie Freeman who allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out eight.
   "She was the perfect speed for us," McConnell said. "She moved the ball around and kept it low, but we worked on hitting that type of pitcher before the game."
   Madras 5, Bend 2: An early lead was just what the Buffs wanted, even if Lava Bear miscues helped out. Madras jumped ahead 2-0 in the first inning and added three more runs in the fifth to take control of the IMC opener.
   "Scoring runs in the first inning was exactly what we talked about," said Buff lead-off hitter and center fielder Holly Martin. "We wanted to come out strong. We wanted to make sure we scored early to get the game started off right."
   A misplay on Martin's bunt helped. The senior admits she didn't watch how the error happened.
   "I was just running hard to first," Martin said.
   Then a wild pitch sent Martin to second.
   "I always get a nice, good lead so I'm ready for anything," Martin said. "You never know if the catcher will bobble it; or it'll be a passed ball."
   Martin scored on Kara Katchia's single. Madras added a second run when Marisa Hulsey scored from third as Katchia was involved in a rundown between first and second.
   The Buffs sealed the game with three runs in the fifth. Olivia Parkins opened with a triple and scored on JoElla Smith's single. Danny Palmer's sacrifice bunt and a single by Hulsey drove in the two other runs.
   Those runs were enough for Hulsey and Aimone. Hulsey worked the first six innings and Aimone the seventh.
   "It was nice to finally start the league season," Martin said. "Our team has good chemistry this year. Plus, our intensity has stepped up this season."