BMCC in it right to the last at bat
With the exception of the first game against visiting Walla Walla CC, the Lady Timberwolves showed - once again - they have come to compete.
The BMCC nine lost to league-leading WWCC 13-0 in Friday’s (April 6) first game, but hung in right until the end in losing the second game 6-4.
On Saturday, the Lady T-Wolves beat Columbia Basin in the first game, 7-5, but dropped the second game, 4-2.
The 1-3 weekend leaves BMCC at 7-13 overall and 3-9 in East Region play. This time a year ago, BMCC was 0-12 in league and 2-18 overall.
But according to some of the T-Wovles, that 7-13 could be closer to 11-9, maybe 12-8. And that 3-9, could - should - be closer to 6-6 or even 7-5
But it isn’t. And a tough test faces the Pendleton team Tuesday in Ontario, when the T-Wolves play Treasure Valley (6-6 and in 4th place in the East Region and 12-10 overall). TVCC split with WWCC Saturday, handing the Warriors their first East Region loss - 10-1 in the second game on Saturday.
“It will be a good challenge for us,” said coach Tom Mauldin, in his first year at BMCC. “The girls know where and when we let something slip ... and it happens less and less with each game. That’s a huge positive.”
As an example, the T-Wolves committed 5 errors Friday, but only 1 Saturday.
“Confidence is growing,” said Mauldin. “Fundamentals are improving every day and those two things go hand in hand.”
One player the coach singled out is Kaley Lyles. The Wasilla (AK) freshman asked the coach about playing time a few weeks and what she needed to work on.
“She knew her swing wasn’t where it needed to be,” said Mauldin. “She had too much movement and was taking a big step. She listened and worked on it. And worked on it some more. People don’t improve simply because they want to ... they improve because they work hard at it and Kaley has worked hard at it. Still work to do, but she’s smiling and I’m smiling.”
The biggest smiles are coming from teammates. In the four games Friday and Saturday, Lyles was 4 for 11 and had her first extra base hit. In the last two weeks - last 8 games - she has raised her batting average from .000 to .230.
Carrying the big bats Saturday were Kendal Weber and Randi Kostner. Each homered in the first game and Kostner had three runs batted in. The T-Wolves scored six in the second inning when Weber had two hits. Other runs were driven in by Chyenne Carter, Paige Aldred and winning pitcher Jordan Bennett.
Bennett pitched the first 6 innings, striking out 5 and walking a season-low 3. She was relieved by Megan Alexander in the 7th.
In the second game, the Wolves managed only 6 hits (2 by Aldred).
“Bats got quiet. We had some opportunities, but couldn’t take advantage,” said Mauldin.
On the other hand, the Hawks did, especially in the 4th inning when they scored three times - including twice on an infield single when BMCC had a lapse.
“We talked about turning our back to the play ... never do it. It happened, so we’re viewing it as a lesson learned,” said Mauldin.
The first game against WWCC was the Dara Kosanke show. She homered twice, had 4 hits, drove in 5 runs and scattered 3 hits.
The game might have been bittersweet for Mauldin, who has been Kosanke’s private pitching coach since her junior year in high school and coached her in high school.
“Nothing bittersweet about it,” said Mauldin. “Of course I want her to do well ... I just wanted us (BMCC) to do better.”
And BMCC did (do better than the first game) in the second game, collecting 8 base hits - including 2 each by Kostner and Lyles. And Stephanie Figueroa homered. Weber, Aldred and Cassie Hernandez also singled. Hernandez played high school softball with Kosanke.
Hernandez missed Saturday’s games with a tight back. Mauldin noted his “MASH” unit is full. Cheyenne Friend, normally starting shortstop, was back for Saturday and played center.
“It’s always nice to have a healthy team,” said Mauldin. “But we deal with it and the girls have responded. In two games, we had six players in positions they don’t normally play.”
“With the exception of the first game against WWCC, we pitched well enough for a couple of more wins,” said Mauldin. “The girls are working hard and we’re competing.”
BMCC follows Tuesday’s road trip to TVCC with home games April 13 and 14.