PILOT ROCK — The game plan against Pilot Rock for the Milton-Freewater 9/10-year-old softball all-stars might as well have been leave bats parked on shoulders Tuesday.
The innings in which the Little Leaguers did their most damage against the hosts from Pilot Rock came through patience at the plate. Milton Freewater scored all but one of its runs in a pair of walk-heavy innings as the team advanced to the championship game of the District 3 tournament with a 16-2 victory.
Milton-Freewater is one game away from a trip to Enterprise for the state tournament, but they’ll need to get past Pendleton’s 9- and 10-year-olds today at 2 p.m. To do that the offense will need to help itself, Milton-Freewater manager L.G. Bullock said.
When the teams met on Monday to finish up the pool-play section of the tournament, Milton-Freewater hit safely just twice against Pendleton’s Aspen Garton in a 4-1 loss.
The team didn’t swing the bats much better against Pilot Rock on Tuesday. Those 16 runs came on just six hits.
Milton-Freewater broke a scoreless tie in the top of the second with five runs that came on three walks and a pair of hit batsmen. Amie Coffman had one of her two hits in the game in that inning, a two-run single.
Coffman’s other knock came in the fifth inning when her team put up 10 runs on only two hits. With a pair of runners on, she connected on a ball to the fence in left field and raced all the way to home on a throwing error.
Hers were the only two RBIs in the fifth when every other run came in on an error, a wild pitch or passed ball.
Pilot Rock wasn’t so fortunate when it came to taking the extra base. Coffman threw out two runners trying to advance to third and center fielder Ashlyn Marley had an outfield assist at second to force out a runner in the third inning.
“It helps us get extra outs that way,” Coffman said, adding that it energized the rest of her team. “And we like to cheer a lot because it helps us when we’re batting and it just makes us feel good.”
Marley and Courtney Cain added triples in the game for Milton Freewater and Marley went 3 for 4. Keree Graves got a single in her only at-bat, but also drew three walks.
For Pilot Rock, Sam Farrester tripled and Elizabeth Norquist had the team’s only other hit. Both came in the fourth inning when the team scored its second run.
The first run came in the second inning, when Milton-Freewater was bitten by the walk bug, issuing five in the frame. Only one would score as Coffman gunned down a runner and then Pilot Rock left the bases loaded.
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