By AJ Mazzolini
East Oregonian

PILOT ROCK — Sporadic storming drove the Pendleton 9/10-year-old all-stars off the softball field twice during their game with Grant County at the District 3 Tournament in Pilot Rock on Tuesday. Just as the girls would get into a groove it seemed, the clouds would unleash their furry sending players scrambling for the dugouts and fans for their umbrellas.

“Yes, it was very tough to keep the girls focused in there,” Pendleton manager Kelsey Garton said. “You get a lightning strike or they hear thunder and it’s a half hour delay. With 9- and 10-year-old little girls in the dugout for half hour, me and the other coaches were wanting to be back out on the field real fast.”
The Pendleton Little Leaguers didn’t need a full set of innings or continual game play to dominate this one, though, taking the contest 14-2 in four innings and moving on to the championship game of the tournament. Pendleton plays next today at 2 p.m. against Milton-Freewater.

Katie Bradt saw the pitching circle on both sides of the storm. She started the game with an inning pitched before coming back following the second rain delay to finish things off in the fourth inning. The downtime between her pitches was enough to make any thrower rusty, and the added lightning warnings only made it worse.

“But after the first couple pitches I kind of got back in it,” she said. “Then I was pretty comfortable up there.”

Carissa Cooley provided some offense for Pendleton with a 3-for-3 day at the plate and also tossed two innings as pitcher. Though the team wasn’t exactly churning out hits, Cooley said every time she stepped to bat the balls she saw were square on the plate.

Grant County scored a run in the top of the first inning but the world was slanted against the team from that point forward. Pendleton answered with nine runs in the home half of the first and held Grant County to four hits total.

Pendleton collected seven hits and scored many of its runs with aide of the other team’s pitching staff and walks.

For Pendleton to extend its summer season beyond today and reach the state level of all-star play, the team will need a repeat performance of its game against Milton-Freewater from Monday. The squads met in pool play of the district tourney and Pendleton received an outstanding performance from its pitcher Aspen Garton.

She threw a two-hitter over six innings with 13 strikeouts. With a day of rest now, Garton could take the ball again in today’s championship.

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Contact AJ Mazzolini at ajmazzolini@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0839.

 


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