Crook County goes 3-1 to finish out spring break games

by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Sydney Waite hits the ball against Centennial on Tuesday.  Waite is leading the Cowgirls in batting average and RBI's

   The Crook County High School softball team is off to the best start in school history. The Cowgirls are 9-3 going into league play after surviving eight games in six days over spring vacation.
   The Cowgirls went 5-3 over break with all three losses coming to teams that were in the 5A softball playoffs a year ago.
   Tuesday, Crook County played a pair of games, falling to Century 1-0 in a pitcher's dual and then defeating Centennial 5-4 in game two.
   "We got outstanding pitching and catching today," said Head Coach Tom Decker. "Our pitchers were fantastic and Santana Reece behind the plate is just doing an outstanding job. She has just taken over as a leader and she is the first catcher I have ever had to call balls and strikes. She has done it from the first game of the season and she has done a very good job."
   The Cowgirls got five hits against Century with Kasey George and Josi Verity each going 2-3 at the plate.
   Kelsey Casey pitched the first two innings of the game before Bre Crakes came in as relief in the third inning. Crakes gave up the game's lone run in the fifth inning to suffer the loss.
   In the second game of the day, Sami Verity did most of the damage at the plate. She hit a grand slam inside-the-park homerun in the fourth inning to give the Cowgirls a 4-1 lead, and then scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
   Bre Crakes pitched the complete game in victory.
   "We had some outstanding defense today," said Decker. "Century loaded the bases with no outs and they didn't score. That's great defense."
   Because of bad weather Wednesday virtually every game in the state was cancelled, but the Cowgirls were one of two teams to get their games in. Crook County defeated Clackamas 3-2 in freezing weather. Emily Gannon pitched four innings for Crook County giving up one run on four hits to get the win. Crakes came on in relief in the fifth inning and gave up one unearned run and one hit to get the save.
   "Gannon pitched four very strong innings for us," Decker said. "She pitched a fantastic ballgame considering that it was brutally cold out there. The Crakes came in and pitched well too."
   The Cowgirls got six hits in the game led by Kaitlyn Duncan who went 2-3 and scored two of Crook County's runs. Sydney Waite also went 2-3 with two RBI's.
   "Clackamas actually hit the ball very hard," said Decker. "I thought they were the hardest hitting team that we have faced, but our kids stuck in there. I am pleased with the win."
   In their final game of the week, the Cowgirls defeated Mazama 19-9. Crook County scored 10 runs in the first inning, but Mazama chipped away at the lead getting back to within one run after the top of the fourth inning. Then the Cowgirls got their bats going again with six more runs in the bottom of the fourth and three more runs in the bottom of the sixth before the game was called because of the ten run rule.
   The Cowgirls belted out 15 hits in the game. Duncan was 2-4 and scored four runs, while Waite was 3-4 with Four RBI's. TaNeshia Fulton was 2-2 with three RBI's, with both hits coming in the first inning.
   "We don't have a week spot in our lineup," said Decker. "Which is a good thing, but I thought we just kind of started playing not to lose after we got ahead today. We weren't real aggressive defensively and we just kind of played a little lax. I told the kids after the ball game that we can't just turn it on and off like a fauce-we have to be in the game in every inning and every pitch."
   The team is taking a three day weekend off to rest before practicing hard on Monday to gear up for their first league game of the year at Mountain View on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
   "We played three teams over spring break that were in the playoffs last year and we know that we can play with them," said Decker. "So we are happy with where we are going into league."
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