PENDLETON - The Spokane Sasquatch lived up to their No. 3 NWAACC ranking Friday, sweeping a doubleheader from Blue Mountain Community College by scores of 4-1 and 6-0.
One doesn't need to look very far for the Sasquatch hero, or villain depending upon your point of view, as Hannah Shelley hit three home runs and had seven RBIs on the day.
Spokane finished with five home runs in the two games, although coach Janet Skaife said that isn't something the team does with regularity, although it wasn't really surprising to see Shelley hit three over the fence in a single day.
"She's had two three-home run days before," she said. "That's her 17th on the year."
The Timberwolves (16-19 overall, 11-13 NWAACC) had to be feeling pretty good in the early going, as Meghan Henderson's RBI single in the third inning to knock in Chris Waters gave BMCC a 1-0 lead entering the sixth inning.
Mindy Morgan led off the sixth inning with a triple to right-centerfield, but Timberwolves' pitcher Cassandra Kuehnell was able to get the next batter to pop up. Shelley then hit the first of her three consecutive home runs to put the Sasquatch up for good.
"Cass threw really well for four innings," Timberwolves coach Nicole Christian said. "She kept their batters off balance but she made a mistake and paid for it. Big hitters will do that to you."
The home run also deflated what had been an enthusiastic Timberwolves' bench.
"The energy just came to an end when they went ahead," Christian said. "That's probably the most disappointing thing. They've had big games where they've been down and come back with six or seven runs in one inning."
Spokane was clinging to a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning, but after Kuehnell retired the first two batters on fly balls to left field, Sasquatch leadoff batter Vanessa Shelby hit one that left fielder Tiffani McCoy couldn't catch - as it sailed over the outfield fence and Morgan followed with her fifth home run of the season.
"Vanessa actually had the single season home run record until Hannah shattered it this year," Skaife said. "Vanessa has 15 home runs in her career and Mindy has five after not hitting any last year."
The Sasquatch (25-11 overall, 21-3 NWAACC) took BMCC out of the game early in the nightcap, as Shelley hit a three-run homer her first trip to the plate and followed with a two-run shot in the third inning. That was more than enough for Spokane's Stefani Hertz, who held the Timberwolves to four hits in throwing the shutout.
Spokane had already clinched the East Division title, but are trying to stay sharp in preparation for the NWAACC tournament.
"The motivation is that you play your best now because you have to play your best at the NWAACC," Skaife said. "We look at every out as important as an out at the NWAACC tournament. If we prepare that way we won't feel extra pressure when we get to the tournament."
The losses left the Timberwolves down, but not out, in their quest for a tournament berth. With a doubleheader today against Big Bend and a pair of games against Treasure Valley on Tuesday, the Timberwolves can get right back into the mix.
"We have four games left and we have to take care of business," Christian said.
Softball standings League Overall
Spokane 21-3 25-11
Wenatchee Valley 13-11 22-16
Columbia Basin 12-12 18-14
Treasure Valley 12-12 15-18
Blue Mountain 11-13 16-19
Walla Walla 10-14 18-18
Big Bend 9-15 12-22
Yakima Valley 8-16 9-19