HERMISTON — There may be five league games left on the Hood River Valley softball team’s schedule.
But, even though the postseason is still three weeks away, these girls are starting to talk playoffs.
That’s because they can.
The Eagles won their third straight Intermountain Conference game Tuesday at Hermiston, 1-0, giving them eight league wins and the inside track to the IMC’s second playoff spot.
Sophomore Talia Hinman earned her second win in four days with a three-hit, six strikeout performance, while freshman Meghan Flem came up with the lone RBI in the sixth inning.
Meanwhile, the defense was at its very best, making one big play after another to help HRV take down Hermiston by one run for the second time this season.
“There were a few other highlights besides the win,” coach Phil Hukari said.
“Michelle Connors, for example, made a shoestring catch for the first out of the game, which kind of set the stage for Hermiston. It seems like any hard-hit ball they had, we got to,” he said.
Hermiston threatened in the sixth and seventh innings, getting the leadoff runner aboard, but Hinman made the pitches when she had to, and got the Lady Bulldogs to chase pitches after she got ahead in the count.
“In some ways, we seem to be getting stronger,” Hukari said. “But I’m still a little concerned about Talia’s health. Hopefully she and Lauren (Gaulke) can keep it up and we can win out.”
HRV (13-7, 8-1 IMC) still has to face third-place Redmond twice and first-place Pendleton once. The Eagles also play Bend twice today, beginning at noon.
“We’re starting to prepare for the playofffs,” Hukari said.