Pendleton suffered two bad innings early on, and it was enough to stop them from defending their state title.
On Friday, the Bucks let slip seven runs in the first two innings of a 5A quarterfinals softball game at West Albany on the way to a 9-3 loss to close their season.
“That’s just how it is,” said Pendleton coach Tim Cary. “(West Albany) is a good-hitting team. We gave up a few too many runs in those early innings. It was too big of a hole to climb out of.”
The Bulldogs jumped out early with a pair of home runs in the bottom of the first. Mahayla Gamble’s three-run homer on a 1-0 count got things started, and McKenzie Kosmicki followed with another on a full count during the next at-bat.
Gamble threw a no-hitter in the top of the second, and Ellie Babbit sent the Bulldogs’ second three-run homer of the day past the center field fence to score Sidnee Holloway and Presley Jantzi.
Another no-hit inning for Pendleton ensued in the top of the third.
Haily Greening led off the bottom of the third with a dinger over the right field fence to leave the Bucks down 8-0.
“We didn’t get the bats rolling for a few innings,” Cary said, “but once the fourth inning rolled around, we put the bat to the ball.”
Kirah McGlothan got the Bucks going in the top of the fourth when she singled a full count pitch to center field. She took second base on Kila Solomon’s groundout to first.
Two batters later, Maria Lillienthal singled on a line drive toward center field. McGlothan scored on the throw.
The Bulldogs chipped in one more homer in the bottom of the same inning when Babbitt hit her second one of the game. But the Bucks fought back with a home run of their own in the top of the fifth, when Delaney Duchek hit one on her first pitch at bat. It would be her second of the season.
Aspen Garton hit the final home run of the game in the top of the sixth, but it would not be enough to make a comeback.
“We had some nice highlights,” Cary said. “We just didn’t hit the ball consistently to put enough pressure on our opponent.”
For her final game in her debut season with the Bucks, freshman Sauren Garton hurled seven strikeouts and gave up just three walks.
“She threw against a very good team,” Cary said of Garton. “She threw her heart out today. She gave it all she had.”
McGlothan, Duchek, and Aspen Garton each went 1-for-3 at the plate with a run scored to lead the Bucks in offense. Gamble tallied 11 strikeouts, keeping Pendleton without a base hit until the fourth inning.
“We had a great season,” Cary said. “The girls fought through every game and never quit at any point. Today just simply didn’t work out in our favor.”