Bats struggle in loss to Centennial

Draper strikes out 8 and records HRV’s only 2 hits

Former Mt. Hood Conference rival Centennial traveled to Westside Field Monday in an attempt to steal a bit of momentum away from the HRV softball team, which had won four straight games over Spring Break.

Both teams were even through three innings, but an infield error and a misplayed ball in the outfield allowed Centennial to score twice in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

Although HRV got one back in the bottom of the fourth, the bats were dormant for most of the game, and HRV settled for its third defeat of the year by a score of 2-1.

“We just weren’t hitting today,” said sophomore catcher Katie Pritchett, whose defensive awareness kept the Eagles in the game on more than one occasion.

“Stefanie (Draper) pitched well for her first full game, and the defense was strong. We just need to work on our hitting more.”

Draper, a freshman who is recovering from a nagging wrist injury she suffered in January, pitched her first complete game of the season, striking out eight and giving up only five hits. She also accounted for the Eagles’ only two hits on the day and scored the only run after a fourth-inning triple.

“I was a little slow today,” she said. “I’m not really sure why my velocity was down, and I think I could have done better.”

The Eagles (5-3 overall) will need that type of attitude as they head into their final two preseason contests, beginning today with a home game against The Dalles.

“This is going to be a big game for us,” Draper said. “We’ve been playing against those girls for a long time, and we don’t want to lose any more games we should win.”

In each of the Eagles’ three losses this year, the problem has been getting the timely hit. They were able to put runners on base against Evergreen (Wash.) on March 19, but couldn’t get them home and lost 2-0. Then, in their first game of Spring Break, HRV couldn’t buy a hit against Clifton, N.J., and fell 6-0.

“You can never do enough hitting,” Draper said. “That’s what we need a lot more of right now.”

HRV hosts The Dalles at 4 p.m. today at Westside Field and then travels to Forest Grove April 7 for a rematch of last year’s first-round state playoff game.

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