By David Krueger Herald Writer
DUVALL — It took more than half the season for the weather to cooperate and allow the Granite Falls and Cedarcrest softball teams — the two squads atop the Cascade Conference — to play each other for the first time in 2012.
Even then, when a steady rain began to fall down around the fourth inning, the game became in jeopardy.
But unlike the Granite Falls offense, the rain let up, and even gave way to some sun for the final couple innings while the Tigers defeated the Red Wolves 7-2 at Cedarcrest High School Tuesday afternoon.
“I was thinking, ‘let’s just get five innings,’” Granite Falls head coach Candi Reeves said.
Catcher Peyton Spencer led the way for Granite Falls, batting 2-for-4 with two doubles, three RBI and a run scored. She also caught Tigers’ starter Kimmy Martinez who struck out seven Cedarcrest batters and scattered six hits.
Martinez, a sophomore who Reeves said “led us to state” last season, improved her record to 9-1 this year.
“(Martinez) just has so much composure, poise and finesse out there,” Reeves said.
Granite Falls (10-1 league and overall) got on the scoreboard early in the game when Spencer hit an RBI-double to right-center field in the top of the first inning, scoring Logan Thomas. Spencer scored later in the inning on a wild pitch.
The Tigers added a couple runs in the third inning thanks to an RBI-triple by Jamie Alexander and an RBI-single by the next batter, Jessica Mueller.
Granite Falls scored three-runs in the fourth inning, capped by Spencer’s two-run double.
“It’s just an exciting win for us,” Reeves said. “I’m really proud of the kids. They had 10 hits for the night and manufactured seven runs out of it.”
Mueller batted 2-for-4 with an RBI while Thomas, the Tigers’ leadoff hitter, had a 3-for-4 performance with two runs scored and a stolen base. Reeves said that Thomas is good at getting on base and once she’s running around the infield, “things happen.”
Cedarcrest’s best chance came in the bottom of the sixth inning. With two outs and two runners on base, Haile Gerde knocked a run in with a pinch-hit infield single. The Red Wolves (10-2, 10-2) again had runners at the corners when, Spencer caught the pitch, threw the ball to third base and picked off the Cedarcrest runner to end the inning.
Stephanie Hall’s single to right field added another run for the Red Wolves in the bottom of the seventh. Hall was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into an RBI-double.
“They’ve got some great hitters,” Reeves said of Cedarcrest. “It’s a challenge every time you show up to play anybody.”
Another challenge this season has been getting to actually play softball games. Inclement weather has led to numerous reschedulings throughout the area. Granite Falls, for instance, has seven games in the eight days remaining in their regular season. The Tigers are scheduled to play two doubleheaders before the end of the season, including two games against Cedarcrest next Tuesday at Granite Falls High School.
The Red Wolves also have two doubleheaders scheduled as they play six games before the regular season ends.
Reeves said if her team gets the opportunity to play, they’ll be ready. Along with her coaching staff, she’s been telling the Tigers that as long as they play at their highest level, they will do just fine, regardless of the opponent.
“We keep preaching to the kids you show up, don’t worry about the opponent and don’t worry about the outcome,” Reeves said. “… If we play the way these kids can play, we don’t have to worry about it.”
At Cedarcrest H.S.
Kimmy Martinez and Peyton Spencer. Stephanie Hall and LuAnn Townley. WP—Martinez (9-1). LP—Hall. 2B—Spencer (GF) 2, Hall (C), Kailyn Campbell (C), Taylor Turner (C). 3B—Jamie Alexander (GF). Records—Granite Falls 10-1 league and overall. Cedarcrest 10-2, 10-2.