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Clarkston Bantams soar over Pullman Greyhounds in softball showdown

Apr. 24—Even while donning turquoise instead of its usual black and red, the Clarkston softball team went about business as usual. The Bantams downed the Pullman Greyhounds 12-2 in a 2A Greater Spokane League game on Tuesday in Clarkston.

"We were a little bit flat on the bats tonight. Wasn't our greatest game," Clarkston coach Kristin Wilson said. "But we got it done. We got a 'W'"

Clarkston's start to the game set the tone for how the contest went for both teams.

Here's how the latest showdown between the Bantams and the Greyhounds played out:

Bantams come out swinging

Clarkston (14-2, 9-1) scored four runs to take a hefty lead in the first inning. A walk with the bases loaded, a two-RBI single by Kirsten Phillips and an error on a grounder from Emma McManigle comprised the scoring.

The Bantams weren't quite able to replicate that showing in any other inning, but they still brought home at least one run in every other frame. Clarkston punctuated its latest league win with a three-run sixth inning, which was capped off with a walk-off RBI single from Ryann Combs.

What's more impressive is that Wilson thinks her team could've done more.

"They know that they can hit better," Wilson said. "We're a great team. We obviously can do better than that, and they know that. We're just off some days."

Wilson's viewpoint on her team's day at the plate is supported by the 10 Bantams that were left stranded on the basepaths.

But it was the solid pitching and defense that ultimately gave Clarkston the edge over Pullman (6-8, 4-6).

Getting it done on the field

The biggest discrepancy between the two teams came in the circle and the field. The Greyhounds' defense committed six errors over the course of the game compared to the Bantams' one.

There was a highlight play that emphasized that point: a stretch-out grab from Clarkston's Jaideyn Goard deep in right field to get an out.

Both team's starting pitchers went the entire way. Pullman's Kinsey Rees and the Bantams' Emma McManigle both struck out six batters. McManigle gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and walked four. Rees, a solid pitcher in her own right, let up 12 runs (10 earned) on 10 hits.

The Bantams' win on Thursday also set the stage for an interesting doubleheader in the near future.

Bantams knocking on the door

Clarkston is currently second in the 2A GSL with its 9-1 league record. The Shadle Park Highlanders occupy first-place with an unblemished 10-0 mark in league play.

The Bantams will play the Highlanders in a doubleheader May 3 at home. Clarkston has three league games between now and then: two against West Valley and one against Rogers.

The Bantams have a 3-0 combined record against those two teams this season. If Clarkston wins those three upcoming contests and Shadle Park remains undefeated in its slate, the doubleheader in nine days' time will be for the top spot in league.

The Bantams haven't earned a regular season league softball championship since joining the GSL after the 2019 season. The team is also in the middle of its best season in over a decade.

"I have a really good group of girls," Wilson said. "They've been playing together for a while. We just went back to fundamentals, basically. They know the game. It's just about fine-tuning things and going back to fundamentals. And working hard every day. These girls are ready to play."

More than a game

Tuesday's contest also featured a notable switch in color pallets for Clarkston. The game doubled as a fundraiser for Tri-State Hospital and the Lili Foundation. The foundation raises money to benefit women and the families of women who have been affected by women's cancers. The Bantams wore turquoise-colored jerseys as part of the event and there was a tent set up for more information on the foundation and how people could donate.

Pullman 000 110— 2 4 6

Clarkston 411 213—12 10 1

Kinsey Rees and Taylor Cromie; Emma McManigle and Joey Miller.

Pullman hits — Cromie, Taylore Wolfe, Lili Herndon, Juliana Stewart.

Clarkston hits — Leah Copeland 2 (3B), Miller 2, Kirsten Phillips 2, Keeley Ubachs 2, Murray Broemeling (2B), Ryann Combs.

Kowatsch can be contacted at 208-848-2268, tkowatsch@lmtribune.com or on Twitter @Teren_Kowatsch.