By Jeremy McDonald
DAYTON, Ore.– Kennedy’s defense showed vast improvement from Monday’s game versus Scio to Tuesday’s game versus Dayton on the road.
Having jumped out to a 5-0 lead on the Pirates, the Trojans didn’t allow that big crooked number to appear on the scoreboard as Dayton slowly clawed back into the game.
“We kept the energy high and I think that just kept us going. We were hitting the ball well, better than a little yesterday,” said Elise Suing.
Kelsey Kleinschmit (two-RBI single), Sophia Carley (RBI Single) and Suing (two-run Home Run) helped reinvigorate the Kennedy moral after their 15-5 loss the day before to the Loggers against the new-look infield of the Lady Pirates.
Young yes, Dayton settled in with their leaders helping out as they find themselves down 6-5 entering the bottom half of the seventh thanks to defense and the right hits at the right time.
“Honestly we need to come out better in the first inning,” laughed Anna Mullins, who hit a two-run dinger to get the Pirates to within two of the Trojans in the fourth. “But it’s fine, we just need to get our bats rolling, we’ve struggled with that a lot, so it was nice that we got it going.”
But it was part of the line-up they wanted against a newbie pitcher in Emily Cuff. Two-power hitters in Cate Jacks and Maddie Fluke and if Fluke didn’t win it, having hit a Grand Slam that day before but got into scoring position, you got Mrs. Clutch Emily Elliott third.
Elliott hit game-winners against Scio on March 17 and the 3A State Championship winner against Rainier on June 1.
The Trojans tamed those three to an Elliott RBI single to tie the game at six to force the underclassmen to beat them. They got one out, but a pass ball and Jori Hill grounding into a fielder’s choice with Elliott and Tate Ashley on first and second put the Trojans in a weird situation as they tried to keep Elliott at third but get the out a first.
Initially Elliott stayed at first as Suing threw to Carley at first, but as soon as the ball got to Carley Elliott turned on the burners and went home. Carley threw at home, Elliott was safe at home for the win as the Pirates turned around the five run-deficit into the one-run win 7-6.
“It felt really good to just to have it in my head and get it down,” said Hill of the fielder’s choice. “It was good that we all came together and worked hard. We just needed to get into our heads that we could do it and be strong.”
With Clatskanie Monday and the weather forecast looking like it’ll begin to work with teams now with the sun, it’ll give the Trojans an opportunity to fine-tune the little things fielding on defense while working on being loud offensively to affect the opposing pitcher.
“We’re just going to work on our fielding a little more and I think that’s going to help us be a little more stronger in the field. We haven’t had much practice in the field,” starts Suing. “We were loud in the dugout and it gets in people’s heads and I think we just need to get into the pitchers head a little more. Watching the ball, we just got to see it and drive it. That’s really key.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald