Cowgirls pocket 18-0 win in five innings against Bend Lava Bears

by: ANDREW MATHESON/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Kaitlyn Duncan slaps a single here on Tuesday against the Bend Lava Bears. The Cowgirls won in five innings 18-0.

Tuesday's matchup against Bend marked the beginning of the second half of the season, and the Crook County Cowgirls decided to take a much different approach to their game.
   In a season that has been dominated by close, one-run ball games - nine in total, in fact - the Cowgirls dominated the Bend Lava Bears on Tuesday 18-0, a game that was called in the fifth inning due to the 10-run rule.
   Crook County scattered 16 hits in the shortened ball game, with Kaitlyn Duncan, Shaylynn Curtis, Sydney Waite, Santana Reece and Kelsey Casey having multiple-hit games.
   Mantana Reece had a multiple-hit game as well, but it was her four RBI's that stood out, most notably on a three-RBI, bases-clearing double to left center in the first inning that broke the game open.
   The win, which broke a three-game losing streak for the Cowgirls (2-6 IMC), came at the mid-season point, and, as Manager Tom Decker hopes, will propel the team forward.
   "This was important for us," Decker said. "It was nice to be ahead by multiple runs late in the ball game. We've played solid softball all year long...and I see us finishing strong.
   "We've been in position to win those one-run ball games. Other teams have beat us on those little bleeders. It's not like we've done anything bad, we just haven't got that break. This win was important for our own psyche, for our own confidence, and it's a morale-booster."
   The Cowgirls jumped on Bend in the first inning as Duncan slapped a single and stole second. After Curtis walked and Waite blooped a single into center field, Mantana Reece brought everybody home with the three-RBI double. Reece would later score herself after Courtney Barnes blooped a single into right field.
   Already with a 5-0 lead, the Cowgirls added to it in the bottom half of the second, with, once again, Duncan leading off with a slap single, and would later score on a wild pitch home. Later, Reece racked up her fourth RBI of the day when she singled home her sister, Santana, from second base and opened up an 8-0 Cowgirl lead.
   On the mound, pitcher Kelsey Casey pitched five shutout innings for the Cowgirls, and allowed three singles. Bend's Kassie Bliss pitched five innings as well.
   The Cowgirls would plate 10 more runs in the game, including six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
   While it was the first game of the second half of the season, the remainder of the Cowgirls' schedule slows down, as the team will have only three different opponents over the next three weeks.
   "I can't wait until next week, but I wish we were playing Madras Thursday (yesterday) instead of having to wait a week," Decker said about the squad's next game against the White Buffaloes, which will take place this Tuesday. "It's hard, but we're not the only ones who do that."
   The Cowgirls will host Madras on Tuesday, an IMC rival who they lost to 6-5 in their previous matchup on March 20.
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