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Trailing 2-0, Crook County scores five runs with two outs in the third inning to take control of game

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Kalyn Martinez hustles into third base ahead of the throw. Martinez was two-for-three at the plate on Wednesday with three RBIs as the Cowgirls defeated the Corbett Cardinals 8-4 in Tri-Valley Conference play.The Corbett Cardinals always seem to give the Crook County Cowgirls trouble at home.

Wednesday was no exception as the Cardinals scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning to take an early lead.

With pitcher Kara Moritz keeping the Cowgirls at bay, the Cardinals held onto that lead into the third inning.

Then, with two outs in the third, the Cowgirls exploded, Abby and Brooke Dalton both singled before Ashley Owens, Berkley Puckett, Emma Ackley and Kalyn Martinez, hit back-to-back doubles, scoring five runs in the process.

"Coach Gary (assistant coach Gary White) has warned me about the play over here the last several years," Crook County head coach Jeremy Puckett said. "So, knowing that going in, we were on a mission to prove them wrong."

The Cardinals tried to rally, scoring a run in the third, but it could have been much worse for the Cowgirls.

After an infield single, Crook County shortstop Berkley Puckett fielded what looked like a routine ground ball, but hoping for a double play, Puckett rushed, dropping the ball as both runners were safe.

A single loaded the bases for the Cardinals before Emma Dillard ripped a hard line drive down the left field line, scoring a run.

Crook County left fielder Ashley Owens came up firing, throwing a strike to home, holding Corbett to just one run on the play.

A ground ball to Brooke Dalton in the pitcher's circle led to an out at home before the Cowgirls got out of the inning as Moritz grounded out to Emma Ackley at first, leaving the bases loaded.

The Cowgirls scored again in the fourth, as Abby Dalton hit a solo home run, making the score 6-3.

The Cowgirls added two more runs in the fifth inning. Owens singled up the middle to start the inning. Puckett then hit a pop up into short center field. Owens stayed on first, thinking that the ball would be caught, and was thrown out at second when no one caught the ball.

Ackley then doubled to right before Martinez singled, scoring both Puckett and Ackley.

Corbett scored one final run in the fifth, but Dalton struck out Isabella Morales with runners on second and third, for the final out of the inning.

"Me and Caitlyn (Caitlyn Elliott, the Crook County catcher) worked really well together today," Dalton said. "She knew what didn't work for me today, so we didn't pitch that, and it really worked for us."

Neither team scored in the seventh, as the Cowgirls came away with the victory.

"I think the girls did well today," Puckett said following the game.

The Cowgirls showed just how much power they have on Wednesday, ripping 12 hits, including six for extra bases.

Abby Dalton was three-for-three in the game, with the home run, while Ackley was three-for-four with a pair of doubles.

OtLON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Abby Dalton follows through after hitting a home run on Wednesday in Corbett. The Cowgirls won the game 8-4.her Cowgirls to collect multiple hits included Owens, two-for-three, Puckett, two-for-three, with two RBIs, and Martinez was two-for-three with three RBIs.

With the win, the Cowgirls improved to 9-3 in Tri-Valley Conference play and 15-7 overall. Perhaps more importantly, with just three games left to play, the win guaranteed the Cowgirls at least a play-in game, as they can no longer finish lower than third in the conference.

"This win was really important," Brooke Dalton said. "Really, really important. We had a pretty good two-out rally in the third inning. Once we get a couple of hits, the dugout gets pretty hyped, and everybody has a certain amount of confidence that helps them at the plate."

One more win, no matter which remaining game, will lock up second place for the Cowgirls.

Meanwhile, Corbett fell to 5-7 in conference and 6-13 overall, dropping to fourth place in the league.

Crook County plays at Molalla (2-9, 4-15) today, then hosts league-leading Gladstone (12-0, 16-5) Tuesday, before closing out the regular season on the road at Madras (7-5, 11-8) next Thursday.

At Corbett

Crook County 005 120 0 — 8 12 2

Corbett 201 010 0 — 5 7 3

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