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Knights split doubleheader with Eastmont

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | March 30, 2024 12:38 PM

ROYAL CITY — The Knights split Friday’s doubleheader against Eastmont, winning the first game 13-6 before suffering a 12-8 loss to the Wildcats in the nightcap.

Royal head coach Lisa Lawrence said it’s important to face challenging teams during the non-league slate.

“We were feeling confident,” Lawrence said. “We were trying to line up with good competition — we know we need to see that to head into state, to see some competition that we don’t see in league sometimes. Eastmont’s always fun to play; we know them pretty well. We know they have good pitching and hitting.”

After Eastmont took an early lead with a first-inning home run, Royal answered with a game-tying RBI double by junior Lily Delarosa, later taking the lead for good when senior Sonia Ledezma scored during an at-bat by sophomore Taylor Webb. 

The Knights went up 5-1 in the bottom of the third, capitalizing off of hits by senior Randi Allred and Webb, as well as a Wildcat error. 

“We were hitting well; well-timed hits at the right time, and it was a lot of fun,” Lawrence said. “Jill (Allred) was pitching a great game, and it was a good time.”

Eastmont managed to cut the Royal lead to 5-4 in the top of the fourth, but Royal responded by scoring eight runs over the next two innings; junior Audrey Bergeson, sophomore Jill Allred, senior Jaya Griffin, senior Raegan Wardenaar and Randi Allred all drove in runs during Royal’s scoring stretch.

“The girls, they just don’t give up,” Lawrence said. “They’re always cheering, always up, there’s always a chance. They just kept hacking away in that first game and getting hits, and things came together at the right moment.”

Jill Allred, who started both games in the circle, surrendered six hits while striking out six batters in the first game.

“Jill (Allred) really helped us out the first game, and the second game,” Wardenaar said. “We hit way more the first game and got runs very quickly.”

The second game had a similar start — Eastmont opened the game with a first-inning two-run home run but then rang off seven runs in the top of the second inning to take a 9-0 lead.

“They got timely hits in that second game – they kind of did to us what we did to them,” Lawrence said. 

Eastmont scored five of its seven second-inning runs with two outs on the board.

“The second game, we had a tough first and second inning in the field,” Wardenaar said. “We just missed a lot of plays, and we were kind of down.”

Royal did string together five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and had the bases loaded with the tying run at the plate, but a strikeout sealed Eastmont’s 12-8 win.

The scoring run started with a single by Wardenaar.

“I told the dugout — I was on deck — and I was like, ‘I’m swinging as hard as I can,’” Wardenaar said. “Then I got a line drive.”

The loss was Royal’s first of the season, as the Knights fell to 6-1. The Knights return to the field April 9 on the road against Zillah.

“Our big goal this season, both at practice and in games, is to be learning and growing every outing,” Lawrence said. “Today, things weren’t perfect at times, so our big takeaway is how we can keep improving, making adjustments and learn and grow.”

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

Box scores

Game One

EST: 1-0-0-3-0-0-2 6

ROY: 2-0-3-2-6-0-X 13

Game Two

EST: 2-7-0-0-0-2-1 12

ROY: 0-0-3-0-0-0-5 8


    Royal senior Jaya Griffin runs to second base after a hit in the Knight’s game doubleheader Eastmont.
 
 
    Royal sophomore Jill Allred pitched both games of the doubleheader against Eastmont on Friday. In the first game, Allred pitched all seven innings while surrendering six hits and striking out seven batters.
 
 
    Royal junior Lily Delarosa throws the ball back toward the infield in the second game of Royal’s doubleheader.