Alex Hillmick allows just one Southern California hit

VANCOUVER, Wash. - The Pendleton 11-12-year-old softball all-star squad couldn't have scripted a better start to the Western Regional Little League pool-play tournament.

Pendleton was nearly flawless in every aspect Saturday, knocking off Southern California (Temecula) 9-0 to open the pool-play tournament.

"What a start and it was much more than we had hoped for," Pendleton manager Debbie Alger said. "We were expecting a one run or a two run, but I think we surprised them."

Alex Hillmick was strong from the pitching circle, tossing a complete game and allowed just one bloop single in the fifth inning.

"She pitched an outstanding game," said Alger of Hillmick, who struck out eight batters and faced just three over the minimum. "She had lots of confidence and her pitches were working."

Pendleton will square off with Northern California at 6 p.m. today and plays Arizona at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Pendleton collected seven hits and had one error, while Southern California committed five errors.

"This was a very important win because we are the underdogs," said Presley Pahl, who walked twice and scored a run. "We're so excited."

Pendleton patiently chipped away at Southern California pitcher Sara San Millan, who struck out eight, but gave up six runs in the fourth inning.

Makayla McKay ignited Pendleton's rally with a single and Pendleton had four hits in the inning.

"After Makayla hit that single, we just followed it and their pitcher started to struggle," Alger said. "We captured the momentum and we were able to bat around the order."

Kelli Demianew, who went 2 for 4, ripped an RBI single in the fourth inning and Nika Kash Kash broke the game open with a two-run single several batters later.

"That was a huge hit and it got us going," said Kimberley Engblom, who walked in the fourth and scored of Kash Kash's single.

Pendleton took advantage of two Southern California errors in the fifth inning and Demianew along with Rachel Treloar each had RBI singles to help Pendleton tack on three more runs.

"When we're playing as a team and having fun, then I think we can do pretty good," Pahl said.

Shoini Schimmel, McKay and Hillmick each went 1 for 4 and Treloar along with Kash Kash finished 1 for 2 at the plate for Pendleton.

Millan took the loss for Southern California and Blair Lowe had the lone hit for Southern California, who will face Arizona Monday.

In the only other game played Saturday, Montana knocked off Washington 2-0.

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