HOOD RIVER — The blazing sun and freshly mowed grass at Westside Field couldn’t have been any more appropriate for what was about to happen to the Sandy Pioneers’ lineup on Monday.
HRV freshman pitcher Talia Hinman’s fastball was hotter than Georgia asphalt, while her menu of off-speed pitches mowed down Sandy batters like a rototiller as she led the Eagles to a 2-0 win — their third in as many games.
“I still have some areas that need work, but I’m feeling pretty good right now,” said Hinman, who gave up just two hits and struck out seven to record her second shutout of the season.
“I can’t take full credit, though. The defense has backed me up really well. There’s not a weak spot on the field,” she said.
Infielders Angie Martin (3B), Ashley Carter (SS), Whitney Zuercher (2B) and Maria Martinez (1B) frustrated the Pioneer hitters with their model of efficiency, recording all the outs they should have — and even a few they shouldn’t have.
Hinman and battery mate Katie Pritchett also got into the act on many occasions and made it difficult for the Sandy lineup to find a groove — or get out of the infield.
Hinman’s pitching counterpart, Michelle Smith, also did her part to keep the game close, giving up just six hits in six innings and backing herself up with strong glove work on the mound.
The Eagles (3-1, 8-6) had a chance to break the game open in the first inning after putting runners on first and third with no outs.
But after a Michelle Connors strikeout, Hinman hit a liner right back at Smith, who somehow caught the ball and tossed it to third base to double up Lesley Betts and keep the game scoreless.
Betts atoned for her miscue in the third, however, scoring from third on a wild pitch.
Leftfielder Tara Level made it 2-0 in the fourth with a fielder’s choice that scored Becki Flory, but two more quick outs ended the threat.
Knowing that this game was to be a pitcher’s duel, Hinman ratcheted up her game and sat down 12 of the final 14 batters to nail down the win.
Before the Eagles were able to talk about a three-game win streak, they had to take care of business Friday versus Centennial.
In just another day at the office, Hinman tossed five no-hit innings in relief of Lauren Gaulke to pace HRV to a 5-2 win at Westside.
The offense made life a little easier for the pitchers Friday, however, posting nine hits in the come-from-behind win.
Connors and Hinman each had two hits to lead the onslaught, while Betts, Zuercher, Flory, Martin and Lori Wimmers each contributed one. The RBI’s came from Connors (2), Martin (2) and Zuercher.
HRV will try to make it four on Friday at home versus league favorite Central Catholic.