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Tigers, Huskies split doubleheader

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | April 30, 2024 5:38 PM

EPHRATA — Monday’s Central Washington Athletic Conference doubleheader matchup between Othello and Ephrata saw each team pick up a win, with the Huskies winning the first game 6-3 before the Tigers claimed a 6-3 win of their own.

“We were feeling really good,” Ephrata head coach Heather Wood said. “We knew our defense would hold up, and we knew that we were going to face some pretty good pitching. We were ready, we came ready to play.”

Othello jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning of game one, highlighted by a three-run home run off the bat of junior Lovie Franco. After going up 5-0 in the top of the fifth inning on a solo home run by senior Amarie Guzman, Ephrata cut the deficit to 5-3 on a two-RBI single by junior Kaydence Hector and an RBI single by senior Peyton Trautman.

Othello added some insurance in the top of the sixth on an RBI single from junior Kaelee Valdez, holding on for a 6-3 win over the Tigers. 

Trautman said the Tigers used the break between games to come together as a unit.

“I think we became more of a team,” Trautman said. “We fell out a little in the first game, but the second game we communicated more. During our break, we came up with a game plan, and we talked more about what we should do.”

The Huskies again struck first in the second game, as senior Naraiah Guzman sent home senior PK Garza on a sacrifice fly in the top of the second inning. The lead was short-lived, as Ephrata took the lead for good on a two-RBI single from Trautman in the bottom of the third inning.

“I had two strikes, and I was thinking, ‘Line drive,’” Trautman said. “I previously hit that foul home run, and that was my second strike — I was just thinking ‘Line drives,’ because I knew any hit that wasn’t an out, I knew I’d get an RBI. I just kept my head down and made contact.”

Hector and Trautman scored on an Othello error to push the lead to 4-1 by the end of the third inning. 

In the bottom of the fourth, Ephrata freshman Kaylynn Spencer scored on another Huskie error and junior Olivia Bicondova drove in a run with an RBI double to extend the Tiger lead to 6-1. 

“They just followed each other,” Wood said. “I think they got the confidence to hit, and just came through.”

While the Huskies added two home runs in back-to-back at-bats from junior Emi Pruneda and Garza to open the top of the seventh, Ephrata locked down to seal its 6-3 win.

“We went into the circle, and looked at each other (and said), ‘Lock in, we’ve got to get this’” Ephrata senior Madyx Leseman said. “Two home runs, that sucks, but you’ve got to come back from it.”

Leseman made her second start of the season on Monday, pitching all seven innings while surrendering four hits, one walk and three earned runs, striking out four Othello batters.

“I just came out from an arm injury, so I’ve just been kind of getting back into the swing of things,” Leseman said. “I was a little nervous, but I got the hang of it eventually.”

Wood said the change from the first to the second game on Monday came from settling in.

“I think they just kind of relaxed a little bit and played their game,” Wood said. “It was a little distracting not knowing that (Othello) is like — it’s a new coach there at Othello this year, so you never know what to expect.”

Othello (13-4, 9-1 CWAC) closes its league schedule with a doubleheader against East Valley (Yakima) at home on Friday. Ephrata (13-5, 7-3 CWAC) hosts Prosser for a doubleheader Thursday.

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

Box scores

Game One
OTH: 4-0-0-0-1-1-0 6
EPH: 0-0-0-0-3-0-0 3

Game Two
OTH: 0-1-0-0-0-0-2 3
EPH: 0-0-4-2-0-0-0 6


    Othello senior PK Garza, in red, rounds second base on her way to third base against Ephrata on Monday.
 
 
    Ephrata junior Kaydence Hector picks up a ground ball and tosses it back to first base for an out against Othello on Tuesday.
 
 
    Othello senior Miccaela Valdez throws the ball back toward the infield in the nightcap of Monday’s doubleheader against Ephrata.