>Two big innings gave the Cowgirls enough offense they needed to get past the Lava Bears Tuesday
The Cowgirls grabbed the early lead, then stuck around and grabbed the win.
   In an IMC matchup at Bend Tuesday, the Crook County softball team used 10 hits and a two-hit performance on the mound by Joy Childress to claim its first league victory of the season.
   With the win, the Cowgirls move to 1-4 in the IMC and 4-10 overall, while Bend drops to 0-5 in league and 0-13-1 for the year.
   "We played pretty well," said head coach Kevin Wooldridge. "Even though Bend has been losing some, they still have some girls who can hit the ball and they've been doing that."
   Crook County put points on the scoreboard early with a six-run third inning. Ashley George started things off for the Cowgirls, reaching on base as a result of a Mtn. View error. The play was followed up by back-to-back bunts by Tifinie Howard and Childress to load the bases.
   Shortly after, Hanna Kriege belted a shot to left field, scoring George and Howard. Childress later scored on an error to bring the score to 3-0. Also adding runs for Crook County during the inning was Kriege, Nicole Kludt and Andrea Meadows.
   Wooldridge has been looking for his team to come through offensively in a big way and the Cowgirls did just that against the Lava Bears.
   "We saw some pretty good pitches off and on, but we kept concentrating on it and hit the ball pretty well," he said. The Prineville team continued to find success in the fourth inning. Emily Hancock and Kriege each led off with singles, before Nicole Kludt knocked a ball through a hole in right center for two RBIs and to make it a 8-0 ball game. Meadows later drove in Kludt with a double to give her team the 9-0 advantage.
   Complementing the Crook County offense was the pitching effort by Childress, who ended the day with four strikeouts.
   "She did very well," Wooldridige said. "She's a good location pitcher, she's not going to overpower anybody, so when she pitches a whole game, she has to use her head the whole game and she did very well."
   The Lava Bears scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, but it wasn't enough to pull out the comeback.
   Kriege ended the contest going two for four with two RBIs, Kludt went two for four with three RBIs, while Meadows was two for four, with a double, a single and two runs batted in.
   Next up for Crook County is a road trip to eastern Oregon over the weekend. The Cowgirls face Pendleton Friday and add a doubleheader with the Buckaroos Saturday. With seven contests left in the season after Saturday, the CCHS squad is very much still alive in the playoff hunt.
   "They have to execute, that's all there is to it," Wooldridge explained. "They have to play their game and they have to be there to play.
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