Friday, June 14, 2024
52.0°F

ACH baseball, softball sweep Republic

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | April 29, 2024 3:54 PM

COULEE CITY — Both the Almira/Coulee-Hartline baseball and softball teams picked up big wins over Republic over the weekend, as both Warrior squads prepare to conclude their regular seasons this week.

ACH baseball

The Warriors returned to game action Saturday following an 11-day layoff and dominated visiting Republic in a doubleheader sweep, winning 34-0 and 32-2 in the penultimate league series of the regular season.

“We were just excited to get back out there because it was such a long layoff,” ACH head coach Hunter Lee said. “That was our last home game of the year too, so that brought a little bit of extra excitement. It was fun, and obviously went pretty well for us.”

With their last outing being a 10-2 loss to Manson, ACH’s offense quickly came alive in the routs of Republic on Saturday evening. 

ACH picked up 17 hits in the first game, led by junior William Allsbrook who went three-for-three at the plate. Sophomore Brady Roberts and junior Grayson Beal both drove in a team-high five runs in the first game.

In the nightcap, sophomore Caden Correia and senior Jaxon Baergen collected a team-high three hits a piece, while Correia and sophomore Harvest Parrish each drove in four runs in the win. 

“It felt good to win, and those are league games so those are big to make sure we don’t drop any of those,” Lee said. “It definitely feels good, gives us a little bit of confidence going into our game on Tuesday.”

The Warriors hit the road this weekend for a doubleheader against undefeated Northport, a makeup of a doubleheader originally scheduled for April 23. With both the Mustangs and Warriors standing at 14-0 in the Northeast 1B league, the games serve as defacto league title games.

“We didn’t know that we weren’t going to Northport until about 30 or 40 minutes before we were supposed to leave, but it actually worked out well that that’ll be our last game of the season, we’ll have two undefeated teams going into it,” Lee said. “Last day of the regular season, however, that’s going to shake out is going to determine who gets the one and two seed coming out of our league.”

Before Saturday, ACH will play its final non-league game of the year; a standalone game on the road against Brewster on Tuesday. Lee said the game was scheduled recently after games against Cusick were dropped from the schedule.

“Because of them dropping out we were able to pick up this game against Brewster, which should be another really good one for us — just like the Manson and the Omak games that we’ve played,” Lee said. “Those are the teams that we need to play to get us ready to play at a state championship level.”

ACH (15-1) has been pouring on the runs in their outings this season, averaging 18.6 runs per game through the first 16 games. Leading the way offensively has been Beal, who’s collected 29 hits and 33 RBI – both of which lead the team. 

Of the Warrior starters, Correia (.581), Beal (.558), junior Jameson Conley (.553), junior Carter Pitts (.455) and Allsbrook (.400) are all hitting at or above .400 this season.

“In high school baseball it’s really important to have a good catcher defensively, and offensively he’s hitting really well,” Lee said. “A lot of our guys at the top of our lineup are hitting really well … we’ve got several guys that are all hitting above .400, and even a couple of them are hitting above .500 right now.”

On the mound, Correia, Pitts, Conley and Parrish combine to present a force to be reckoned with, Lee said. 

“The fact that we have multiple (pitchers) is huge, because I don't think you can win with just one (pitcher),” Lee said. “With today’s rules with pitch counts and the way our state championship is set up — you’ve got to play on a Friday night and then turn around on Saturday — you need at least two guys, and the fact that we have four of them that we have full confidence in being able to go out and start us off … we feel confident that any of those guys can win us a game.”

First pitch between the Warriors and Brewster is at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, and Saturday’s doubleheader against Northport is at noon.

ACH softball

ACH opened up Saturday’s doubleheader with an 18-1 win over the Tigers, followed by a 10-0 win to secure the sweep. In the first game, seniors Kady Murray and Mariah McWalter both had a team-high in hits (two) while Murray and senior Beth Okamoto both led the Warriors with two RBI. In the nightcap, senior Shaina Beal picked up two hits and sophomore Peyton Roberts had two RBI in the win.

“The girls, their defense was doing really good,” ACH head coach Faye Butler said. “Out of the two games they only had two errors, so they were really throwing those balls, picking them up and getting the outs. That was awesome. Able to get those hits, and to dominate.”

Saturday’s wins came after ACH swept Northport on Tuesday, winning by scores of 11-0 and 24-14. The wins over the Mustangs secured a top-two finish in league for ACH. 

“It’s just building up their confidence,” Butler said. “It’s nice to have (the wins) on the record, but we definitely need the girls’ confidence to be built up so that when we do get more of these pressure games, they can rely on the past success.”

Up next for ACH is a road doubleheader against Inchelium; the Hornets, as well as the Warriors, both post unbeaten marks in the Northeast 1B league.

“Big games for the rest of the season, really,” Butler said. “Inchelium got second in state last year, and I think if we can come away with a win that’s going to be a huge confidence booster for the girls going into districts and postseason.”

Through ACH’s 16 games, Murray leads the Warriors in both hits (30) and RBI (29). 

“She has come to practice ready to work — when I’m working with her with her batting, she takes correction well and she’s always trying to get better,” Butler said. “I think that has paid off in game-time.”

ACH’s pitching duo consists of sisters Beth and Grace Okamoto, the former being a senior and the latter being a freshman. The sisters have combined for 130 strikeouts this season. 

“Beth is always coaching Grace, and Grace is always cheering Beth along,” Butler said. “They both do great.”

As the postseason quickly approaches, Butler said practices become more focused. 

“Practice has a different tone right now,” Butler said. “It’s a bit more serious, and just working hard in practice and making sure we’re going over all the little pieces.”

First pitch between ACH and Inchelium is at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Ian Bivona may be reached at ibivona@columbiabasinherald.com.

Box scores

ACH baseball vs Republic

Game One
REP: 0-0-0-0 0
ACH: 17-10-7-X 34

Game Two
REP: 0-0-1-1 2
ACH: 4-23-5-X 32

ACH softball vs Republic

Game One
REP: 0-0-0-1 1
ACH: 5-5-8-X 18

Game Two
REP: 0-0-0-0-0 0
ACH: 1-2-4-2-1 10


    Almira/Coulee-Hartline senior Kady Murray leads the Warriors softball team in both hits (30) and RBI (29) this season.
 
 
    Almira/Coulee-Hartline junior Emma Whitaker (3) looks back to the Warrior dugout after reaching second base against Republic on Saturday.
 
 
    Almira/Coulee-Hartline sophomore Brady Roberts prepares to lay down a bunt in the nightcap of the Warriors’ doubleheader against Republic on Saturday.