PENDLETON — With two of the top pitchers in the Columbia River Conference facing off in Pendleton on Tuesday, a scoreless game looked ready to stretch well beyond the seventh inning. Both Kristen Crawford of the Buckaroos and Ann-Marie Guischer of The Dalles Wahtonka Eagle Indians were in prime rally-squashing form.
But from within the pitchers’ battle, the Bucks doubled their hitting output in the bottom of the sixth inning with a pair of stinging doubles, pushing across the one and only run of a 1-0 Pendleton victory.
Darian Lindsey led off the inning with a rope to right field, holing up at second base though her speed could have challenged for three. Two batters later, Rayne Spencer squared up a full-count pitch, driving the ball to the fence in left center field for the one-out RBI.
Pendleton (12-6, 4-1 CRC) moves up the Class 5A softball state rankings two spots with the win to second place. The Dalles (10-6, 2-3 CRC) falls from third to fourth, skipping over No. 3 Hermiston (10-6, 3-2 CRC).
The pair of two-baggers in the sixth inning brought Pendleton’s hit total to four for the game against Guischer. The Eagle Indian senior struck out 10 batters in six innings of work and had only allowed four base runners prior to the sixth.
When the Bucks could get ahold of Guischer, they hit her hard, though. Three of those hits were well-smacked doubles on inside pitches that strayed a few inches over the plate.
“My inside screwballs were really working well,” Guischer said, “but I pitched that last batter that hit that run in not right on the corner and she got inside it and drove it.”
Kasidee Lemberger also doubled for Pendleton.
Crawford matched Guischer for the Bucks using efficiency. She threw only 86 pitches while striking out nine in seven innings. She pitched out of three jams with runners in scoring position, including the top of the sixth inning right before the Bucks took their final lead.
But the best scoring chance for The Dalles Wahtonka came in the third inning with runners on the corners and only one out. Kelsey Martinson stole second base and collided with the shortstop, Lemberger, who was attempting to apply the tag. With the fielder down and the ball rolling to the side of the bag, Emilie Keimig saw an opportunity to make a run
Pendleton’s second baseman Evangelina Olivera played the loose ball. She sprinted to the ball on her side of second base, sending a rocket to the catcher Rayne Spencer to nab the runner by two steps for the second out. Crawford then
K’d the next batter to end the inning.
“I saw Kasidee go down and the ball come out and I knew the runner was going to go,” Olivera said. “I went with my instinct and threw her out because I knew she couldn’t score.
“And then afterwards I went to Kasidee because it looked like she was hurt.”
Lemberger took a few moments to catch her breath and stayed in the game.
The teams will meet again Saturday for two in The Dalles starting at noon.