Eagles focus, shut Lincoln down

May 25

For the fourth year in a row, the HRV Softball team has made it to the first round of the OSAA State Championship. On Monday theEagles showed everyone why.

The skies were clear at Westside Field as the Eagles prepared to face off against the Lincoln Cardinals. Fans who were at last week's game against The Dalles/Wahtonka watched a much easier game on Monday, with the Eagles earning a win against the third-place team from the Portland Interscholastic League in just seven innings.

The 4-0 shutout over Lincoln advanced Hood River to the next round of the state championship, and eased the nerves of some players.

"I was really nervous all day," said Brianne Rowley, second baseman for the Eagles. "But once I get my first hit, I'm okay."

Rowley, who hits clean up for the Eagles, delivered two solid hits and an RBI, leading the team offensively in Monday's game. "I'm happy with how the team has batted," Hukari said.

But offense was not the only thing that helped the Eagles to victory. "Our pitching is peaking," said Hukari. The pitcher he is talking about is Chelsey Elliott, the junior powerhouse who has earned 164 strikeouts in just under 120 innings pitched.

Because of the win on Monday, the Eagles will be up against Sprague High School, at Sprague, on Wednesday evening. The competition will be good, but win or lose, Hukari will be satisfied. "The only thing that I preach is that the playoffs are a bonus," he said. "There is no low end to the playoffs; it's all positive."

A win today against Sprague would earn Hood River a home game on Friday, but Hukari is not looking that far ahead. "We're going to take this one game at a time," he said, "and we're going to keep playing until they tell us that there are no more games to play."

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