MOSES LAKE — Michelle Turner tripled to get the party started and the defending District 6 champion Moses Lake Chiefs scored five runs on seven consecutive hits to open the first game of Thursday's doubleheader with Davis.
The Chiefs scored six more the following inning to runaway from the Pirates 12-1 in the first game. They won Game 2 by a score of 21-0
Moses Lake (6-0, 2-0 CBBN) outscored Walla Walla 31-6 in a twin bill on Tuesday, so they are swinging it pretty good. But what head coach Mike Hofheins likes about the club is how well they are playing defense.
“I knew the offense was going to be there, but I'm really happy with how we're playing on defense,” said Hofheins, who has just six seniors on the team. “The last tournament (state), that's what's going to win it.”
Hadleigh Cranston had a perfect day, going 4-for-4 in the second game and 3-for-3 in the opener for a 7-for-7 at the plate in the doubleheader. Harley Raymond went 2-for-3 with a home run and a double to lead the Game 2 barrage.
The Chiefs defense turned three double plays behind the stellar pitching of Ciarrah Knoll, who threw a one-hitter.
“We're pretty solid up and down the lineup,” Hofheins said. “We have five or six girls that can hit it over the fence. Gina (Skinner) is always solid. Brooklyn's (Bailey) is there. Michelle (Turner) consistent.
“Harley Raymond is strong as an ox. Madi Olson is strong. We have a bunch of strong girls that like to bang it.”
In the first game, Madi Olson doubled, going 2-3 with a run scored. Turner finished 2-for-4, scored twice and had the triple hitting out of the leadoff position and Gina Skinner turned in a two-hit performance.
The major difference between slowpitch and the fastpitch game is that virtually no one strikes out. Where defense wins championships, base running sets it all up.
“That's what makes slowpitch so valuable is that we have a chance to play more defense and work on running the bases,” Hofheins said. “We have really smart base runners. We're not the fastest team, so let's hit gappers and go.”
Last year, the Columbia Basin Big Nine (CBBN) became the third league in Washington to add slowpitch softball, joining the Greater Spokane League and the Greater St. Helens League. There are now five leagues across the state in a sport that is growing in popularity.
The month-long season used to end with a district tournament, but this season there will be an eight-team state tournament Oct. 27 in Richland.
“Our first goal is to win our district again, but this year we get to go on to a state tournament,” Hofheins said.
The Chiefs travel to Yakima for a doubleheader with Eisenhower on Tuesday.