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Emily Benton blasts a home run during the first inning of the Cowgirls’ game with the Bend Lava Bears on Friday. The Cowgirls lost the game 13-4.
Despite taking an early lead, the Crook County Cowgirls couldn’t maintain the momentum as the Bend Lava Bears roared to an easy 13-4 Intermountain Hybrid softball victory.
“You know, when you look at it after the third inning, we played pretty well,” said Crook County head coach Garry White. “We did the same thing against Ridgeview and we’ve done that on a pretty regular basis. We just need to bring those innings at the beginning of the game and then build on that.”
The host Cowgirls blasted three extra base hits in the bottom of the first inning as they took an early 2-1 lead over the Lava Bears.
Jena Ovens started the inning off with a bloop double. Her hit was followed by a two-run home run from Emily Benton and a triple by Miranda Smith.
However, Smith was unable to score, and that turned out to be a turning point in the game.
Bend responded with 10 runs in the top of the second inning as they took control of the
Ashley Bond unsuccessfully attempts to tag a runner at first during the Cowgirls’ loss to the Bend Lava Bears.
“They hit the ball in the second inning, I’ll give them that,” White said. “They have some quick base runners and they know how to run the bases. That’s something we have to understand and we have got to start backing each other up better.”
The Bears added two more runs in the third inning before the Cowgirl defense stiffened.
Crook County allowed just one more base runner the remainder of the contest, but the damage had already been done.
The Cowgirls managed to score a run in the bottom of the second inning and another run in the fourth, but were never able to mount a serious challenge.
Bend finished the contest with 12 hits compared to just five for the Cowgirls. However, of the 12 hits, all but three were in the second inning.
“We hit the ball hard,” White said. “We had some shots, but it seemed to always be right at somebody. It could have been a different story if some of those balls had fallen in, but the what-ifs and the maybes don’t really help us too much.”
The win gave the Lava Bears a series sweep of the Cowgirls. With the victories, Bend raised their record to 13-8 while the Cowgirls fell to 10-13.
In addition, the loss dropped the Cowgirls to 27th in the latest OSAA Class 4A power rankings, virtually eliminating Crook County from contention for a play-in berth.
Crook County has three games remaining against the Summit Storm. However, with the Storm mired in 29th place in the Class 5A power rankings with a 3-18 record, it is unlikely that even a sweep of the three-game series would be enough to propel the Cowgirls to a play-in spot.
The Cowgirls will be without the services of starting pitcher Miranda Smith for the entire series.
“We’ve got to come back and refocus on Monday,” White said. “I’ve got full confidence in Emily Benton to come in and pitch. The defense has got to back her up now because she will have to throw all three games.”
Crook County will host the Storm in a doubleheader, beginning at 3 p.m., on Wednesday. The team will close out the season with a game at Summit Friday afternoon, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Bend 13, Crook County 4
at Crook County
Bend 1 (10) 2 0 0 0 0 — 13 12 2
Crook County 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 — 4 5 3