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Cowgirls survive against Bend

Crook County scores seven runs in the top of the eighth inning to win

by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Sydney Waite scores the go-ahead run for the Cowgirls in the eighth inning of Tuesday's game against Bend when the Bend catcher drops teh ball on what would have been a force-out.  The Cowgirls went on to win the game 13-6.

The Crook County High School girls softball team got a scare from the Bend Lava Bears on Tuesday before winning in 13-6 in an extra inning.
   The Cowgirls jumped on top 4-0 early in the game and looked to be in control, but Bend had a big third inning scoring five runs including a towering three run home run by Ashley Noble to take a five-to-four lead.
   "It was extremely scary for not only the coaching staff, but our players as well," said Head Coach Tom Decker. "I'm not sure that we just didn't go on cruise control there for a little bit and then after Bend came back and got on top it seemed to me that we started pushing. Then we started swinging at pitches that we don't normally swing at and we got a little tight."
   With the game tied six to six the Cowgirls had a chance to win the game in the seventh inning, but baserunning errors took away a run and the game went into extra innings.
   "We left 12 baserunners on base, 11 of them in scoring position in the game," said Decker. "We ran the bases extremely poorly. We ran ourselves into outs and did things that we don't normally do."
   Then in the top of the eighth inning the Cowgirls came back to life to finally put the game away. Crook County loaded the bases and then scored on an a dropped ball by Bends catcher on what should have been a routine force out. After that the Cowgirls unleashed a flood of hard hit balls exploding for seven runs in the inning to finally put the game away.
   "I have to give Bend credit," said Decker. "They are improving and they are not a push over. The good news is we came out and hit the ball hard in the eighth inning and won a ballgame that could have gone either way."
   For the Cowgirls Kaitlyn Duncan was four for six at the plate with two RBI's, Sydney Waite was three for six with two doubles and Five RBI's and Kasey George was four for five with a double. All together Crook County pounded out 17 hits in the game to just seven for the Lava Bears.
   Kelsey Casey started the game for the Cowgirls pitching the first three innings and Emily Gannon pitched the final five innings earning the victory.
   The Cowgirls are now 13-5 on the season and 4-2 in Intermountain Conference play while the Lava Bears fall to 1-13 and 0-5.
   Crook County travels to Bend again on Friday to play Summit High School who is currently 4-1 in the IMC and in a four way tie for first place. Then next Tuesday they have a doubleheader at Madras, who is also 4-1 in league.
   "This next stretch run is very critical for us," said Decker. "We can't afford to let down now. We've got to play positive ball and I think the girls understand that and we are up to the task. We all want post season play and I think the girls understand that they got out of Bend today by the skin of their teeth so it was probably a really good lesson for us."