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Jacks softball takes two Ws from Wahluke Warriors

Mar. 18—QUINCY — A pair of hard-fought games went to the Quincy Jackrabbits softball team in a doubleheader against the Wahluke Warriors on Saturday.

Quincy took the first game 6-2 and won the second 9-8. Jacks coach Pauline Baughman wrote that timely hitting and good pitching made the difference.

"Mariah Stephens did a great job for us in the first game," Baughman wrote in answer to an email from the Columbia Basin Herald. "She kept (Wahluke) to just two runs throughout the whole game."

It was the first start ever for freshman pitcher Genesis Hinojosa, and Baughman said she was pleased with Hinojosa's response. Stephens pitched the last two innings of the second game in relief.

"Hayden Morris had a solid day at the plate (with) a total of four home runs for the day," Baughman wrote. "She brought in three RBIs for us in that first game."

Morris also stole home in the second game.

Wahluke took the lead in the second game, but a three-run double by Emma Galloway got the Jacks back in it, Baughman wrote.

Warrior Coach Jana Wirtzberger said it was the second outing of the season for Wahluke, and it took a little while for the team's hitting to warm up. But she was pleased with her team's defense.

"Super proud of our girls," she said. "We played really hard, our defense was looking really great. And then toward the end, our bats were coming on, but we just left it a little late."

She cited shortstop Salma Martinez, catcher Azeneth Ruiz and third baseman Madi Harlow for both their defense and their offense.

"(Martinez) made some great plays, and she also had some great hits, was making really good contact with the ball. (Ruiz) did a great job behind the plate and hitting. (Harlow) made some great plays from third to first and was getting the ball in play as well," Wirzberger said.

Baughman too was pleased with the defense she saw on the field, she wrote.

"I loved that my team worked well defensively and had their pitchers' backs," she wrote.

Quincy's hitting, however, could still use some work, she said.

"Offensively we have some work to do. We need to be able to adjust to the pitcher in the moment and look for a way to make things happen," she wrote. "We are still working on some of our nerves at bat. Our hitting will come, but we will be practicing to make it stronger."

Wirzberger said the Warriors return a core of experienced players, and the team is still working on fitting old and new players together.

"Our returners, our seniors, they did a great job being at the plate, making smart choices. First year on varsity, they just need to find a way to settle in," Wirzberger said. "Our offense needs a little bit of work, just making sure we get it done a little faster earlier in the game."

The Jacks were aggressive on the basepaths, and Baughman said that's something she encourages.

"Causing chaos on the basepath is something we are striving to do," she wrote. "Sometimes that doesn't work out and we have errors on the side of aggression."

The Jacks had a good season in 2023, and Baughman wrote her team wants to build on that.

"With only 12 (players) on the roster, each player is going to be an important part of this season," she wrote.

She cited shortstop Michelle Acevedo and center fielder Nicole Durfee, both seniors, as key defenders.

"With those two leading the field defensively, we will be making some strong plays," she wrote.

Wirzberger said she expects a good season for the Warriors.

"I think we'll be super-competitive in league," she said. "We're going to come at everyone and play our best."

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.

Box scores

Game 1

Quincy 2-0-0-1-3-0-x 6

Wahluke 0-0-0-0-2-0-0 2

Game 2

Quincy 2-0-2-0-1-4-x 9

Wahluke 0-2-0-2-4-0 8