MILTON-FREEWATER — With the first round of the state softball playoffs set to kick off next week, Pendleton and Mac-Hi convened at Yantis Park on Thursday both wanting to play a solid game to help build some momentum into the postseason.
The Buckaroos were able to do that, while the Pioneers showed that there is plenty of work to be done in practice over the next several days. The Buckaroos smacked 10 hits and scored eight runs over the final four innings to take down the Pioneers 8-1. It’s the second win for the Bucks (23-4) over the Pioneers (17-6) this season, as Pendleton also won 9-0 on April 11.
“This was an important one, it kinda gives us a little boost to roll into the playoffs with now,” Pendleton coach Tim Cary said. “Mac-Hi’s a great team and an excellent team to play right before the playoffs.”
Pendleton jumped on the back of junior pitcher Lauren Richards Thursday, as the right-hander took a perfect game into the seventh inning. Mac-Hi broke it up in the seventh when Micha Fortune led off the inning with a perfectly-placed bunt single down the third base line for the Pioneers first hit. Richards ended up finishing the game with two hits and one run allowed with 12 strikeouts, tallying two strikeouts in every inning from the second through the seventh.
“Our game plan wasn’t necessarily to pitch her the whole game, but when she goes through six perfect you can’t take her out,” Cary said of Richards. “She’s just a tremendous competitor and she’s going to give you everything she’s got every time out and gives us an opportunity to win every single game when she’s in the circle and that’s what we want for these next hopefully four games.”
The Buckaroo bats took some time to figure out Mac-Hi pitching as well, as Pioneer starter McKennna Stallings allowed two hits and zero runs through the first three innings. But in the fourth inning, Pendleton finally found the groove. Payton Hergert started things with a one-out double and then Kalan McGlothan clobbered a two-run home run way over the fence in right-center field to give the Bucks a 2-0 lead.
“At the plate I look for mistake pitches, anything that touches the plate I just put my hardest cut on it and that one went out,” McGlothan said of her home run, which was one of a team-high three hits on the day.
Leading 3-0 in the fifth, Pendleton added on with a sacrifice fly from McGlothan and later a two-RBI single up the middle by Kila Solomon to jump on top 6-0. The final two runs came across in the eighth when McGlothan scored from third on a wild pitch and then Tatum Fell smacked a sacrifice fly to center field to bring home Rylee Gentner for the 8-0 lead.
“After you see a pitcher once or twice, you know what you’re looking for and know her speeds,” McGlotahan said of the slow start, “so then you can really dial in and hit it. It took us a little longer and that happens but then we hit great.”
Mac-Hi’s lone run came in the bottom of the seventh when Ashlyn Marly dropped in an RBI single in shallow right field to score Fortune. Stallings took the loss in the circle, allowing three runs and six hits in four innings with one strikeout and two walks.
Pendleton and Mac-Hi will both host first round playoff games next week, with the opponents still TBD.
R H E
PHS 000 330 2 — 8 10 0
M-H 000 000 1 — 1 2 4
W — L. Richards, L — M. Stallings.
2B — P. Hergert (PHS). HR — K. McGlothan (PHS).