One bad inning.
That was the difference Tuesday as Kennewick took the first game of a Mid-Columbia Conference doubleheader from visiting Hermiston 6-4.
“Either we are super great, or we have that one bad inning,” Hermiston shortstop Sydney Stefani said after the loss. “Usually we can get back in it, but today we didn’t. We have a couple of things to clean up. It will make a difference, for sure.”
The Lions made a clean sweep of the Bulldogs, taking the second game 6-0. Both teams now are 5-3 in MCC play.
The Bulldogs got off to a hot start in the first inning of the opener, loading the bases with one out. Daisy Maddox struck out, and a fielder’s choice by Janelle Almaguer forced out Bailee Noland at second base.
Almaguer made quick work of the Lions in the first inning, but in the second, Kennewick did a fair amount of damage.
MaKendrie Fuhriman drove in two runs with a single for a 2-0 lead, and Claire Jenne made it 3-0 with an RBI single to left field. A sacrifice fly by Abriel Johnson-Cuello gave the Lions a 4-0 lead.
Jenne kept the Bulldogs’ bats quiet during the third and fourth innings, but they came to life in the fifth.
Stefani singled to right field, and with two outs on the board Ashley Cameron drove in Stefani with a double to left field. Noland followed with an RBI single to cut Kennewick’s lead in half.
Hermiston added two more runs in the top of the sixth to even the score, as Grace Studer and Cameron drove in runs, but the Bulldogs would leave the bases loaded.
“We got kids on base, we just weren’t able to make adjustments in our at-bats,” Hermiston coach Kate Greenough said.
“There is no quit, we just ran out of time.”
The Lions, held scoreless since the second inning, took a 6-4 lead on a two-run double by Bailey Warren in the bottom of the sixth.
The Bulldogs were unable to pull even in the top of the seventh as the Lions held on for the win.
“We need to make the adjustments with timely hits, and hit the ball solid,” Greenough said.
Jenne struck out two and walked two in picking up the win.
“She can bring it for her size,” Kennewick coach Patty Malloy-Flora said of her pitcher.
“(Hermiston) got a few runs there and that got my heart going. They are a good hitting team, especially the top of their lineup.”
Hermiston struggled in the second game, committing five errors and getting just three hits off Jenne, who struck out four and walked two.
The Lions put single runs on the board in the first three innings, then scored three in the fourth to secure the win.
Stefani, Studer and Eliza Rodriguez all had hits for the Bulldogs, who will host Pasco on Friday.
Warren hit a solo home run for the Lions and drove in two runs.