PORTLAND — With a whole lot of passion, Pendleton’s 8/9/10 All-Stars Little League softball team made easy work of their Klamath Falls opponents on Friday morning.

The All-Stars opened the weekend’s state tournament with a 22-1 blowout victory over Klamath Falls in Portland. With the win, they are well on their way to defending their state title.

The Pendleton team won the championship last year in Medford.

“There are a few girls on this team from last year,” coach Jason VanNice said, “but most of our girls are new. They’ve all bonded really well. They love playing together. They have an unprovoked passion for each other.”

The Pendleton All-Stars put up three runs right away in the top of the first, and that alone would have been enough to stay ahead of Klamath Falls.

But they weren’t about to throw in the towel that early.

Pendleton quickly took an 11-run advantage in the following inning. With one out on the board, Katelyn Boatman and Brianna Medrano sent RBI singles to third base, both beating the throw.

Kelsi Primus drew a walk to load the bases, and from there, Pendleton drove in four more consecutive runs. Finley Evans’ single to second base put up two more runs.

Klamath Falls finally got their first and only run of the game in the bottom of the second when Pendleton pitcher Alanah Eagleheart gave up a double. The runner scored during the next at-bat, taking advantage of an error at third base.

Pendleton’s firepower was far from diminished, however, as they posted a game-high 11 runs in the top of the third. Eagleheart, Evans, Boatman, Madison Schachtsick, Shaylor Fisher, Cambria VanNice, and Tatium Lambert all drove in runs. Eagleheart hit a single and a double within the same inning, which scored two runs. Her double would wrap up Pendleton’s offense, leaving them up 22-1.

Klamath Falls got one more shot at a comeback, but it didn’t amount to much. Eagleheart swiftly struck out their first two batters, and Lambert grounded out the third to end the game.

“The girls put the ball in play and hit really well today,” VanNice said. “They took advantage of some walks and passed balls. They played smart softball.”

Eagleheart’s three innings of pitching earned her eight strikeouts. She allowed just one hit and one run, and didn’t walk a single batter. She was also unstoppable at the plate, hitting 3-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs.

“Alanah was just in the zone,” VanNice said. “She had it going. She was a stud for us today.”

And she wasn’t the only All-Star that brought the bats.

Lead-off hitter VanNice also had a flawless 3-for-3 showing that scored three runs and three more RBIs. Courtesy runner Boatman put up four runs. Lambert chipped in three, and Medrano and Evans each added two.

The Pendleton 8/9/10 All-Stars hit the diamond again today for a round-two game against Crook County. On Sunday, they’ll challenge Beaverton.

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