Heat bats hot in Heights Tournament

The Hood River Heat fell to The Dalles Cherry City Crush in the championship game of last weekend’s round-robin softball tournament, hosted at Westside Field by the Hood River Heights Business Association.

The Crush finished with a 5-0 record to win the inaugural tournament, and was followed by the Heat at 4-1, the Sandy Fireballs at 3-2, and the St. John’s Lady Hawks at 3-3. Also competing were teams from Corvallis, Albany and Portland.

“It worked out terrific,” said tournament director Chuck Johnisee. “Everyone loved it. The wind blew like crazy, but there was a spectacular view of the mountain.”

Johnisee estimated that around 500 players and their families visited Hood River during the tournament, creating a small boon for local lodgers and downtown businesses.

Injuries plagued the Heat on Sunday, but the team managed to rally in spite of the pain and pull off a second-place finish.

“They played great,” said Heat manager Chuck Thomsen. “Everybody had to pitch in and play different positions due to the injuries.”

The Heat went undefeated on Saturday, with wins of 20-4, 8-0 and 3-2. Sunday proved more of a challenge, and after winning their first game, the Heat were faced with an eighth-inning tiebreaker. Mallory Thomsen drove in a run, Talia Hinman and Ashley Carter contributed base hits, and Shelly Putnam drove in two more runs to give the Heat a 4-1 victory.

Hinman, the Heat’s top pitcher who has been nagged by injuries since the season began, reinjured her ankle sliding into third base early Sunday. J.D. Dellaney filled in on the mound, and Michelle Connors stepped in to replace injured catcher Katie Pritchett during the Heat’s final game against The Dalles.

The Crush lived up to their name and squashed Hood River by a score of 12-0.

“When we have our pitcher against The Dalles it’s usually a one-run game, and a matter of who makes a mistake first,” said Thomsen. “Talia was pretty beat up, and if we could have saved her, we might have had a shot.”

Thomsen said that most of the injuries were minor, and since the 18-and-under tournament this weekend was cancelled, the Heat will have some down time to rest up and recover. They are scheduled to play again July 6-7 in The Dalles.

During the tournament, the Heights Business Association presented three trophies and 12 plaques at a 4 p.m. Sunday ceremony. Early in the tournament they also presented ceremonial practice balls signed by Johnisee, Geoff Schramm, Jean Harmon, Brian Shortt, Rod Paddock and Lorna Paddock.

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