Wells’ homer propels Eagles to league win

Varsity girls split Saturday doubleheader with Hermiston

In order to stay in the running for the Columbia River Conference title, the Hood River Valley High Eagles softball team faced a must-win situation in Saturday’s home doubleheader versus the Hermiston Bulldogs.

After starting league play 0-4, coach Eric Keller’s Lady Eagles needed to get a win to prevent the season from slipping away; and that’s exactly what they did. Kelsey Wells hit her first career varsity homer to help lift HRV to a come-from-behind 3-2 game-2 win over Hermiston.

The No. 11-ranked Bulldogs (4-1 CRC, 11-8 overall) edged the Eagles 1-0 in the opening contest at Westside Elementary School.

“We changed the lineup a little and Kelsey certainly took advantage of her opportunity; she just had an awesome game,” said Keller. “It was nice having some offensive fireworks today to help us get a much-needed victory. It was imperative that we get the win in game 2. It was tough starting league play with a slump. Now that it’s over, hopefully we can start a winning streak.”

The Eagles (1-4 CRC, 11-5) ranked fourth in the OSAA Class 5A level, started a slump after losing three straight to the defending state champion and No. 1-ranked Pendleton Buckaroos (4-1 CRC, 15-4). It continued with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Hermiston in Saturday’s noon contest.

One rough inning doomed the Eagles, as Hermiston broke a scoreless third-inning deadlock to go up 1-0. The Eagles were unable to capitalize on a golden opportunity to score in the bottom of the frame as they loaded the bases, but all three baserunners were left stranded and it remained a 1-0 Bulldog lead after three.

It was a scoreless game the next four innings in what was a pitcher’s duel as junior hurler Kayla Byers had an outstanding performance in tossing a three-hittter with 11 strikeouts. The Eagles outhit the Bulldogs with five hits off Hermiston senior pitcher Paige Long. HRV’s recent sluggish offense (one run in three games) proved to be it’s downfall as the girls were unable to get any clutch hits to drive runs in and they had a total of six runners left on base during the game.

“It felt good to finally get our first league win and we deserved it too,” said Byers. “We’ve had somewhat of a rough start in league play, but we’re starting to hit the ball a little better now.”

In game 2, the Eagles actually had fewer hits (four) than in the first game, but they were more productive at-bats for sure. Much like game 1, it was another hard fought pitchers duel with Byers and Long both having strong performances from the mound.

Hermiston again took the initial advantage with a two-run fourth. The Eagles quickly responded in the bottom of the inning when leadoff batter Natalia Ames drew a walk. Two batters later, Annie Veatch also walked. Wells (2-for-3) then followed with a three-run blast over the 200-foot left field fence.

“I haven’t been hitting too well and I’ve been in a slump recently, but this game kind of changed things for me,” said Wells. “This helps to raise our confidence level and now we feel like we can come back and beat them again when we face them on Tuesday. It’s a great feeling to get our first league win and everyone is really excited.”

The Eagle defense, led by Byers, first baseman Ames and centerfielder Erika Enriquez (1-for-3, single) completely shut down the Bulldogs over the last three innings to help preserve the victory. Enriquez made a number of excellent catches of sharply hit balls to center, including a spectacular play while sliding forward on the grass to grab a ball underhanded.

“I don’t want anyone to score and that’s the mentality that I play with,” said Enriquez. “I think we’ve developed a better rhythm with our hitting and I think we’ll have another strong hitting game again on Tuesday (versus Hermiston). This was a confidence boosting win and we really needed it. I really believe that we can get back into contention for first place, but we just have to get our bats going.”

Senior second baseman Amanda McCafferty made a big clutch play in the top of the seventh. McCafferty caught a pop-up fly ball for the third and final out of the game, when Hermiston threatened to score with two base runners.

Byers overpowered the Bulldogs while throwing her usual fastball of 60 miles per hour, along with an assortment of various pitches (changeup, dropball, curveball) to keep the Bulldogs off balance throughout the game. Byers struck out nine for an impressive total of 20 strikeouts in the two games.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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