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Crook County High School celebrates senior night by giving Pendleton a tough game

PMG FILE PHOTO BY LON AUSTIN - Ali Vaughan was one of the seniors the Crook County softball squad celebrated tuesday at Senior Night, May 17.The Crook County High School softball team was forced to play three games in two days, as Crook County and Pendleton made up a pair of games that were postponed on Saturday, May 14, due to rain as well as playing their regularly-scheduled game on Tuesday, May 17.

On Tuesday, the Cowgirls hosted the Buckaroos falling 5-1 to Pendleton in a well-played defensive battle. Wednesday in Pendleton was another story, though, as the Buckaroos walked away with a pair of easy wins in games that were shortened due to the 10-run rule.

Tuesday served as Senior Night for the Cowgirls, and after a short ceremony for their two seniors, the Cowgirls played one of their best games of the year.

"I was definitely really emotional," said senior Mikinley Puckett. "It was especially emotional because my dad is the coach, and he's been my coach for a long time. So, that was definitely hard for me to face."

"I have no regrets in the last four years being a Cowgirl softball player," added fellow senior Alli Vaughan. "Everything happens for a reason, and I think I have fulfilled my position here."

With Crook County playing great defense and Pendleton pitcher Sauren Garton shutting down Crook County batters, the two teams battled to a scoreless tie through two innings of play.

Pendleton finally got on the board in the third inning on a pair of singles a hit batter and an error. The damage could have been even worse, but two Pendleton batters were thrown out at home — the first on a tag out after a hard-hit ground ball to third, the second on a double steal attempt. On the latter play, Crook County catcher Danner Hemphill threw to shortstop Katelynn Weaver at second base, who then threw back home to get the runner coming in from third.

In the bottom half of the inning, Weaver reached base on a Pendleton error and then stole second base. When Tylee Cossitt also reached base on an error, Weaver raced home for the tying run.

Neither team scored in the third, but Pendleton broke the game open with four runs on four hits, a walk and a Crook County error.

That run would be the final scoring of the contest, as pitching and defense were the name of the game.

Garton finished with 15 strikeouts, while limiting the Cowgirls to just two hits — singles by Cossitt and Kya Mozingo.

Meanwhile, Crook County starter Jaycee Villastrigo gave up five hits in four plus innings of work, while Cossitt gave up one hit in one inning and Raelynn Weaver gave up one hit over three innings.

"It was great," Vaughan said. "I think that it was one of the only perfect days weather-wise that we have had all year, and the crowd was really big because it was our last home game, so it was great. And we played lights-out defense."

"I thought out defense was really strong," added Puckett. "I think our offense was just missing the pitcher a little bit."

The two teams squared off again on Wednesday in Pendleton, but this time the Cowgirls were unable to keep pace with the Buckaroos, who won the first game 13-2 and the second 10-0 in six innings. Garton pitched both games, giving up five hits and striking out nine in Game 1 before limiting the Cowgirls to just three hits in Game 2 while amassing 15 strikeouts.

Cossitt pitched the first three innings of Game 1, giving up five runs on three hits. Villastrigo pitched the remaining four innings giving up eight runs on nine hits, while striking out five.

Katelynn Weaver, Cossitt, Hemphill, Chloe McKenzie and Villastrigo all had hits for the Cowgirls in the first contest.

Raelynn Weaver pitched a complete game for the Cowgirls in Game 2, giving up eight hits and 10 runs. Raelynn Weaver, Cossitt and Vaughan had the Cowgirls' three hits in the contest.

"It was pretty rough today," said head coach Jeremy Puckett on Wednesday. "For the season, it was one of growing, learning and developing. Nothing great in life comes easy. If it was easy, then competitive athletes would not be as interested. Thank you to the athletes, coaching staff, parents and community for all your support this season."

With the losses, Crook County fell to 5-10 in conference play and 10-14 overall, while Pendleton improved to 14-1 in Intermountain Conference play and 23-2 overall. The Buckaroos will host a first-round game playoff game against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.

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