Eastern Oregon pitcher Lily Smith winds up for a pitch during the second game of Fridayís doubleheader with Southern Oregon University at Peggy Anderson Field. The visiting Raiders swept the Mountaineers in EOUís home opener with 8-0 and 5-3 wins. BRAD MOSHER/The Observer
by BRAD MOSHER / The Observer
The Eastern Oregon University softball team opened its home season Friday and Saturday with four losses, but that wasn’t what really concerned coach Aaron Jackson.
It was the team being able to take advantage of the opportunities it gets. That is what Jackson said he was looking for moments after watching his team drop a 13-1 decision in five innings to the Oregon Institute of Technology’s “Hustlin’ Owls” Saturday evening.
“We were just some hits away from getting something started,” he said. “We just couldn’t get that hit.”
The four losses in the opening weekend of Cascade Confereence play dropped the Mounties to 0-4 and a tie at the bottom of the standings with Northwest.
Jackson praised both freshman Gracie Flyg and senior Mariebeth Watanabe for their play.
In Saturday’s finale, Watanabe got hit by a pitch and could “barely close her hand. But she two exceptioonal defensive plays,” Jackson said.
“The Cascade Conference is tough. We face a Top-25 team every weekend.
“We still have a bit of time left. We have only just begun the conference season,” he said.
The Southern Oregon Raiders kicked off the Mounties’ long weekend Friday with a pair of wins.
The first game was an 8-0 loss, but the Mountaineers came back in the second game, falling by a 5-3 margin.
In the first game, Raiders shortstop Stephanie Vanderbusch hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break a scoreless tie.
Irene Barrantes scored in the sixth inning to increase Southern Oregon’s lead to 4-0.
The Raiders added four more runs in the seventh inning to put the game out of reach.
Sydney White got the shutout win for Southern Oregon, giving up five hits and one walk.
Kayla Anderson got the loss, allowing nine hits, four strikeouts and three walks.
Centerfielder Rachel Hatzell was 3 for 3 at the plate, getting three of EOU’s five hits. Alex Hillmick and Flyg got one hit each.
In the second game Friday, Southern Oregon jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the Mounties rallied in the final two innings.
Sarah Jackson’s single in the sixth inning scored Cassie Wendt, then Jackson scored on a single by Stephanie Maestretti.
Wendt homered in the seventh to cut the lead to 5-3, but that was all the offense the Mounties could muster Friday.
EOU had more hits than Southen Oregon (10-9) but had four errors.
Wendt was 3 for 4 at the plate, scoring two runs and had the only homer for the Mountaineers. Jackson was 2 for 4, with one RBI.
EOU’s Lily Smith gave up nine hits, striking out one in the loss.
SOU’s Vanderbusch got her second homer of the afternoon in the fifth inning, helping pitcher Karlie Stephens pick up her first win.
After opening a 6-0 lead Saturday, Oregon Tech watched EOU launch an unsuccessful rally in the final innings of a 9-3 decision.
Wendt scored one run in the fifth and had a 2-run homer in the sixth inning, accounting for all three EOU scores in the game.
Wendt and Watanabe each had two hits in the game.
In the final game, the Owls hammered out 13 hits and 13 runs.
Jess Plummer’s grand-slam homer in the fifth inning turned a 9-1 game into a 13-1 five-inning victory for the Owls.
Katie Martell scored on a single by Watanabe in the fourth inning for EOU’s only run of the game.
Eastern was held to four hits.