Softball team stymied by two league powers at home

HOOD RIVER — Flying high after an early-season three-game win streak, the HRV softball team looked to continue its good fortunes against league-leaders Central Catholic and Barlow.

But despite pouring their heart and soul into both games on the mound and in the field, the Eagles settled for two narrow defeats —

3-1 to Central Catholic on Friday, and 2-0 to Barlow in 11 innings on Monday — and fell to 3-3 in league play.

At the forefront both games was freshman pitcher Talia Hinman, whose arm strength and snarl kept HRV in both games until the bitter end.

Against Central Catholic, Hinman went the distance, and on Monday she relieved Lauren Gaulke and struck out 13 batters in eight innings of work.

Coach Phil Hukari said both games presented good learning experiences for the young pitcher and the rest of the team.

“Another heartbreaker,” he said.

Speaking of heartbreakers, with Friday’s game tied 1-1 in the top of the seventh, the Rams put the two leadoff runners on, and on a questionable call, scored the go-ahead run with a bunt.

On the play at the plate, the umpire ruled that catcher Katie Pritchett didn’t hold onto the ball and awarded the run, which put Central Catholic up with runners at second and third and no outs.

Pritchett made good on her next chance, however, and tagged out the lead runner at the plate. The Rams scored one more on a basehit later in the inning, and that proved to be too much for the Eagles’ offense to overcome.

HRV managed just four hits on the afternoon — two by Lesley Betts and one each by Tara Level and Michelle Connors.

The offense never really had a chance to take off Monday because Barlow’s dominant pitcher (“Nash” — first name unknown) struck out 17 batters and gave up just one hit the entire day to Pritchett.

Gaulke started the game strong, going four scoreless innings before giving way to Hinman. Hinman kept the Eagles in the game with devastating power pitches, but one pitch that got away in the 11th proved to be the difference.

HRV will try to get back on winning track when it plays at Reynolds Wednesday and at Parkrose Friday.

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