PILOT ROCK — “There you go, there you go. Keep messing with them,” manager Butch Wilson instructed his base runner, Tehya Ostrom as she edged down the third base line toward home following a first-inning pitch.
Baker catcher Nicole Parsons pump faked the ball back to third, convincing Ostrom to retreat to the base. On the next pitch, nothing would stop her as the Pilot Rock runner dashed home on a wild pitch.
“It pumps us up and gets us going, intimidating the other team,” Ostrom said of the high-risk, higher-reward base running tactics her Little League Majors softball all-star team employs.
In the bottom of the third inning, Pilot Rock scored its first run off the bat of one of its hitters when Rachel Willingham grounded back to the pitcher with the bases loaded. The RBI put Baker behind 6-0.
“That’s our style. We play that way all the time,” Wilson said. “We try to play that way and intimidate them before the game really starts.”
When the Rockets were playing the field, a trio of pitchers held the visiting squad scoreless. Ostrom pitched the first and last inning of the game while Jacey Wilson and Bekah Roe tossed an inning each inside of the sandwich.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing. Baker put runners on in all but one of the innings and even had a pair in scoring position against Roe in the fourth. With one out, Roe struck out a batter but then walked the next. Behind 3-1 in the count with the bases loaded at her back, Roe delivered two straight strikes to end the threat.
“That’s unlike her,” Wilson said of Roe’s sticky situation as she walked the bases loaded in the inning but would eventually strike out the side. “She has a (0.057 batting average) against her on the year. She’s a good pitcher.”
The all-star tourney continues with pool play through Monday with Pilot Rock next facing Grant County today at 4:30 p.m. The top two teams from each three-squad pool will then advance to the semifinals Tuesday before Wednesday’s championship.
Contact AJ Mazzolini at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0839.