Wednesday afternoon wasn’t the first time the Bucks softball team played La Grande this season, and the first time wasn’t pretty.
Previously, the Bucks dropped a 7-1 home game to the Tigers, but on Wednesday it was their turn to beat La Grande on their own field.
Although Pendleton trailed 2-0 for six innings, they put in four runs in the seventh to clinch the lead and emerge victorious, 4-3.
“This is night and day compared to the first time we played these guys,” said coach Tim Cary. “That was a terrible game for us. Today, Sami Spriet pitched great, and really, that’s the difference. We can be a good team if we don’t allow those walks and errors.”
Spriet struck out three and walked just three for the day, but the Tigers got on the board early with Allie Brock’s two-run home run at the top of the first inning. Brock also kept the Bucks scoreless for the ensuing six innings, striking out 10 at the plate, and walking none.
“She throws pretty hard and up in the zone,” Cary said of Brock. “If you chase those pitches, you’ll swing and miss. She’s a pretty powerful strikeout pitcher.”
But Pendleton finally fired back when sophomore DeLaney Duchek hit an RBI single to drive junior Carissa Cooley home at the top of the seventh.
Senior Elli Nirschl bunted sophomore Maria Lillenthal home on the next at-bat, and Duchek would make it home on an error by Tigers left fielder Lexee Gomes.
Nirschl scored on Jayce Seavert’s catching error on the following play.
“We did a good job battling at the plate,” Cary said. “It’s good for us to see this type of pitching right before we start the league. We were a little more disciplined at bat in that last inning.”
The Tigers would get one more run during their final offensive showing, but couldn’t manage enough to overcome the Bucks again.
Cooley, Lillenthal, and Duchek were all 1 for 3 at the plate with a run each. Both teams got seven hits, but La Grande committed four errors on the day, while Pendleton walked away with a clean slate.
Up next, Pendleton (6-3) returns home to host Mac-Hi/Helix today at 4:30 p.m. for their final preseason game.
“We came out with positive attitudes and had great energy,” Cary said. “I’m hoping to see much more of the same tomorrow.”