By Jeremy McDonald
MOUNT ANGEL, Ore.– Kennedy and Blanchet Catholic had one of those classic defensive battles that came down to a walk-off to decide a team victorious Saturday morning at Kennedy High School.
Jenna Hopkins, with her two-hit 20-strikeout performance, led the Trojans while the Cavaliers Regan Rasmussen led Blanchet with a nine-strikeout performance in the 3-2 Kennedy victory in nine innings in the 2A/1A Special District 2 match-up.
“Going into the game, it was probably going to be a pitchers duel and I knew I had to do my best and make sure none of them get any hits, so we can produce on offense and I was really proud with how I did today,” Hopkins said of her performance.
“It was really cool to see our whole entire team come to life and show what we’re really made of. We haven’t really seen that level of competition yet and being able to play Kennedy like this was really cool to see us staying ahead of them the whole game. Fix a couple of errors and I think we got it the next time,” adds Rasmussen of the game.
Rasmussen had the lone hit for Blanchet in the game Saturday, doing so in the fourth inning and was later driven in by Alana Jense off an error to give the Cavs a 1-0 lead. The lead remained until the seventh inning when Isabel Berning hit a one-out sac-fly that knotted things up at one and forced extra innings.
Neither team scored in the eighth, but in the ninth the Cavaliers used the bunt game to retake the lead. Rasmussen got on base, stole second and got to third thanks to a throwing error at second. Jensen laid down a bunt to reach on base and scored Rasmussen from third to hand Blanchet the brief 2-1 lead.
“It was huge to be able to see that we can have the confidence, not only in ourselves but in everyone else. To have the trust and know that we have each others backs because that’s key in everything we do,” Rasmussen said.
Kennedy quickly got on Rasmussen in the ninth inning, taking advantage of two base runners before getting the first out. Berning tied the game at 2 with a single before Blanchet forced a pop-out and were looking to force a tenth inning with runners on the basepaths when Hopkins ripped the game-winning single. Snapping Blanchet’s winning streak at 16 while extending their own to 17.
“I’ve been in a little bit of a slump. Even in my last two At-Bats against (Rasmussen) I popped out, it kind of showed me that I can do it and my past At-Bats don’t define me,” Hopkins said. “We definitely need to work on our bunt defense, they really exposed that weakness of ours and we need to keep hitting. We did good hitting, but we were hitting right to them. We need to keep hitting, defense and hopefully get another win.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald