After winning seven consecutive games — including their first five Intermountain Conference games — the Crook County High School softball team struggled last week, dropping three consecutive games.
After defeating Hood River Valley in two home games just a week earlier, the Cowgirls dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 game to the Eagles on the road on Tuesday, April 26. Then on Friday, April 29, Crook County lost 14-3 and 10-6 on the road at Ridgeview.
Against the Eagles on Tuesday, Cowgirl pitchers Jaycee Villastrigo and Raelynn Weaver combined to give up just four hits and walk one batter. Meanwhile, Crook County batters rapped eight hits in the game. However, a Cowgirl error proved costly as Hood River found a way to score four runs despite having just six baserunners.
The Cowgirls scored three runs in the third inning, but despite four walks and eight hits in the game were unable to score any runs the remainder of the game. Danner Hemphill and Tylee Cossitt each had a pair of hits in the game, while Villastrigo, Mikinley Puckett, Mickie Wright and Kya Mozingo each had a hit for the Cowgirls.
A lot was on the line on Friday at Ridgeview. A pair of wins by Crook County would have virtually wrapped up a playoff spot for the Cowgirls. Instead, the Cowgirls dropped both games and fell into a tie with Ridgeview for second place in the Intermountain Conference.
The Cowgirls couldn't have asked for a better start to Game 1, as Raelynn Weaver was hit by a pitch before Hemphill blasted a two-run homer. Chloe McKenzie then ripped a triple with two outs, but she was unable to score.
Ridgeview responded with five runs of their own in the bottom half of the first inning to take control of the game.
Crook County added a run in the third, before Ridgeview scored three runs in the bottom of the frame and added six more in the fourth to end the game in five innings due to the 10-run rule.
Game 2 saw the Cowgirls fall behind 7-0 early in the game. However, Crook County battled back, scoring six runs in the top of the sixth inning to pull to within a run. That was as close as Crook County would get, though, as Ridgeview scored three more runs to pull away for the four-run victory.
In the first game against Ridgeview, Cossitt pitched a complete game for Crook County. She gave up 11 hits and struck out five, and Crook County head coach Jeremy Puckett noted that Cossitt pitched better as the game went on and was pleased with her effort. In addition, Puckett was pleased with how the team battled back in Game 2 against the Ravens.
"The coaching staff was proud of the team for fighting back in the sixth inning," he said.
Cossitt also led the Crook County offensive attack by collecting three hits in the game, including a pair of doubles. Katelynn Weaver, McKenzie, Puckett, Villastrigo and Alli Vaughan also had hits in the game.
Crook County is now 5-5 in IMC play and 10-7 overall. Hood River Valley is now 3-5 in IMC games and 7-11 overall, while Ridgeview improved to 5-5 in league and 9-8 overall.
The Ravens and Cowgirls play again Tuesday, May 3, at Crook County High School, with game time set for 4:30 p.m. The winner will take over sole possession of second place in the IMC.
The Cowgirls will then travel to The Dalles on Friday, May 6, for a doubleheader against the Riverhawks (3-5, 10-8).
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