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Mavs softball team wins Big 9 title

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | May 14, 2024 1:30 AM

MOSES LAKE — Splitting Friday’s road doubleheader against Eastmont was enough for the Moses Lake softball team to lock up the Columbia Basin Big 9 league title, winning the first game 2-1 before falling 15-4 in the nightcap.

“After our previous three tough games — against West Valley and Othello — where we played pretty well in all three, I think we had a lot of confidence going in,” Moses Lake head coach Mike Hofheins said. “We were playing sharp, we were playing clean. The girls were mentally and physically ready to go.”

In the opening game, Eastmont added the first run of the game on an RBI single in the bottom of the third inning to go up 1-0.

“We played good defense, we pitched well,” Hofheins said. “The girls know that they’ve just got to keep it close and we’ll scratch a couple runs across.”

On Moses Lake’s second at-bat of the top of the fourth inning, senior Emmie Olsen homered on a fly ball to center field to tie the ballgame up at one.

It was Olsen’s second home run in as many games; the senior hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning of the May 6 game against Othello.

“She’s a tough out, and she puts together really good at-bats,” Hofheins said. “Two strikes doesn’t really make her nervous; she’s confident with two strikes. She’s really peaking at the right time.”

In the next inning, senior Mikayla Schwartz drove in a run on an RBI single to give the Mavs a 2-1 lead over the Wildcats. Moses Lake held on to the lead through the remaining two innings.

Junior Paige Richardson pitched all seven innings, surrendering four hits and one run, and struck out 11 Wildcats.

“It’s a classic pitcher’s duel, and we were able to get two across,” Hofheins said. “Emmie (Olsen) hit another super clutch home run like she did in Othello. It was a tough battle.”

It didn’t take long for Eastmont to get its offense moving in the nightcap; the Wildcats scored eight runs in the bottom of the first inning, including three-run home runs by Eastmont’s Brittany Howe and Elizabeth Heinz.

“I’ve got to give credit to Eastmont, their bats got hot,” Hofheins said. “Maybe they realized ‘We’re better than this.’ Just a perfect storm of their bats were hot, they had some bloops that fell and we had some hard-hit balls that were right at their glove.”

Even with the loss, Moses Lake did win the CBBN league title with the 2-1 win over the Wildcats earlier in the day. The Mavs finished the regular season with an 11-1 mark in league games and an 18-3 overall record.

“It’s our first goal when we set out at the start of the season; we talk about it, our goal is to win the league title so that, in our format, you’re able to host the district championship,” Hofheins said. “The next goal is the district championship, which is in front of us on Saturday, and go to state and make some noise.”

Moses Lake faces off against West Valley (Yakima) on Saturday in the Big 9 district title game. West Valley finished second in the Big 9 with a 9-3 record in league games and held the head-to-head advantage over Eastmont, who also finished with a 9-3 record in league games.

The Mavericks defeated West Valley in both games of the May 3 doubleheader, winning 3-2 and 7-2.

“They’re tough; their pitchers are tough, their sophomore pitcher held us in check pretty good,” Hofheins said. “She has a pretty nasty change-up, and we’re going to have to deal with that. When you’re the No. 1 seed, everybody’s swinging for you, so we’re going to have to be sharp and on our game.”

First pitch is Saturday at 11 a.m. The winner qualifies for the 4A State Softball Tournament, while the loser plays a loser-out game 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first game.

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

Box scores

Game One
MSLK: 0-0-0-1-1-0-0 2
ESTM: 0-0-1-0-0-0-0 1

Game Two
MSLK: 0-4-0-0-0 4
ESTM: 8-1-3-0-3 15


    Moses Lake junior Paige Richardson pitched all seven innings of Friday’s first game against Eastmont, striking out 11 Wildcats in the 2-1 win.
 
 
    Moses Lake senior Mikayla Schwartz leads off of first base during a prior match against Eastmont. Over the weekend, she drove in a run on an RBI to put the Mavs in the lead of the game they won in the doubleheader against Eastmont.