Crook County scored nine runs in the third inning to break open what had been a close game

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Emma Ackley hits a two run home run in the second inning of the Cowgirls' 14-4 victory over the Madras White Buffalos. Ackley had two home runs in the game.The Crook County Cowgirls came back from an early deficit to defeat the Madras White Buffalos 14-4 in five innings, Friday afternoon in Prineville.

"It started real good," Madras starting pitcher Jiana Smith Francis said. "Then after a while it just kind of died down with the whole team and also with the fielding not a lot of people seemed ready."

Crook County starting pitcher, Brooke Dalton, had control problems early in the game and the White Buffalos took full advantage.

The White Buffalo's Niyallee Cochran and Liz Serrano walked to start the contest. Lizzie Steuart then laid down a bunt. The Cowgirls attempted to go to third to get the lead runner, but a hustling Cochran beat the throw, loading the bases.

Smith Francis then hit a ball to short, and once again the cowgirls attempted to get the lead runner, but catcher Caitlyn Elliott dropped the ball as Cochran scored. Delaney Vibbert then hit a ground ball to second and was thrown out at first, as Serrano scored on the play.

A single by Genesis Quiroz scored the third run of the inning for the White Buffalos.

Smith Francis retired the side in order in the bottom half of the inning, while Dalton retired all three White Buffalos that she faced in the top of the second inning.

Berkley Puckett walked to start the second inning for the Cowgirls before Emma Ackley blasted a home run to left field, still with nobody out. With one out, Mekynzie Wells was hit by a pitch. Wells then stole second, but Smith Francis retired the next two batters she faced.

Madras scored their final run of the game in the third inning as Steuart reached base on an error, Smith Francis singled and Vibbert was hit by a pitch loading the bases. Quiroz then hit a routine ground ball to first base, but Ackley made an errant throw home as Steuart scored, with the bases still loaded.

Then came the turning point of the game. Jalaney Suppah hit a soft line drive down the third base line.

Wells snared the ball then stepped on third base for an unassisted double play. Dalton then struck out Cheydon Herkshan to end the inning.

"I think it was really important because we all got fired up off of that play," Wells said after the game. "We were down in that inning and then we got those two outs and came back with another out right after that. Then we came out in the third and got some runs right after that."

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Lizzie Steuart lays down a perfect bunt in the first inning of the White Buffalo's game with the Crook County Cowgirls. The White Buffalos scored three runs in the first inning, but the Cowgirls came back to take a 14-4 five-inning victory.The Cowgirls didn't just get some runs in the third, they exploded for nine runs in the inning. Abby Dalton started the inning with a bunt, but the White Buffalos picked the ball up cleanly and threw Dalton out in a close play at first. Three consecutive singles and a Madras error scored a pair of runs, before Ackley hit her second home run of the game, this time a towering blast to center field.

Still with just one out, Kalyn Martinez was hit by a pitch and Wells reached base on another Madras error. The two then stole second and third on a pitch into the dirt.

A pop out to second gave the White Buffalos their second out of the inning, before a walk put Caitlyn Elliott on base. The Madras catcher was unable to handle the pitch and a fifth Crook County run scored.

An Abby Dalton single up the middle scored two more runs for the Cowgirls. Dalton reached second on a throwing error, then went to third as Brooke Dalton reached base on another Madras error and Abby Dalton scored. The fourth White Buffalo error of the inning led to two more errors, before the White Buffalos finally got out of the inning when Ashley Owens was thrown out at third base.

"It was really big because we were really flat at the start," Ackley said of the big third inning. "It's kind of hard to start the momentum if you start like that. "But we are pretty good keeping momentum going once we get it started, so I wasn't worried after that."

With Dalton getting stronger in the pitching circle as the game went on, the White Buffalos had just three more baserunners the remainder of the game, while Crook County scored two more runs in the fourth, and a final run in the fifth as the game ended early due to the 10-run rule.

The White Buffalos were their own worst enemy in the game, committing nine errors. Crook County didn't play error free ball either, making three errors, however, most of their mistakes were early in the game and they played well after the first inning.

The Cowgirls finished with nine hits in the contest, including the two home runs from Ackley and a double by Berkley Puckett, while Madras had five hits in the game.

"We got our bats going a little bit and then we had a few errors in the infield and that kind of brought us down a little bit," said Aspen Holcomb. "We have a hard time shaking things off. I feel like we could be doing better right now we just have to start playing better and get out of our heads."

With the victory the Cowgirls solidified their hold on second place in the Tri-Valley Conference. The Cowgirls are now 6-2 in league and 12-6 overall. Meanwhile, the White Buffalos dropped to 5-5 in league and 9-8 overall and have fallen into a tie for third place in the conference with Corbett.

Madras 301 00 - 4 5 9 Crook County 029 21 - 14 9 3

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