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Eagles sweep Elks with late surge
Twice it took a few innings for the Princeton High softball team to warm up but when it did, Elk Creek had a difficult time slowing them down.
The Eagles ran away with a 15-5 victory in the first game of the doubleheader on Thursday and the home team again overcame a slow start to win 11-0 in the second game.
Krista Swearinger and Kayleen Swearinger roped doubles to the outfield during the first inning of the opener off Princeton pitcher Gaby Rodiguez for a 4-0 lead.
The Eagles responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning, but Kayleen Swearinger doubled and scored again in the second inning, giving Elk Creek a 5-3 lead.
"They started hitting in the gaps, then we regrouped and then my pitching started getting a little better, Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez didn't allow another run over the next three innings and the Eagles offense took advantage of the Elks' inexperience, scoring 12 unanswered runs.
Playing without their starting catcher, Elks' pitcher Krista Swearinger struck out four batters who reached base on passed balls and three of those runners scored.
Elk Creek was also playing without its starting second baseman, who broke her leg earlier this season, coach Abby Swearinger said.
"We lost two main players when we had a good thing going and we haven't got it back since," Swearinger said.
The Elks (2-5, 2-4 Evergreen) don't have the luxury of depth because there were four girls in the entire school who weren't in uniform on Thursday, according to the coach.
While the Elks struggled to make adjustments later in the game, Princeton pushed four runs across the plate in the second inning, two in the third, one in the fourth and capped off the 15-5 victory with five runs in the fifth.
A promising start for the Elks in the second game of the doubleheader disintegrated in the third inning and the Eagles won 11-0.
Elk Creek loaded the bases with two outs on a walk to Shelby Carpenter, a single by Kayleen Swearinger and Sarah McCabe was hit by a pitch, but Princeton pitcher Amanda Hansen got a groundout to end the inning.
Kayleen Swearinger got the Elks off to a strong start by sending the Eagles back to the dugout with a 1-2-3 bottom half of the first.
The Elks once again put themselves in good position in the top of the second after Jessica Burrows and Emily Groth walked and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch with no outs, but Hansen struck out the next two batters and got the final out of the inning on a pop-up to first base.
Rodriguez led off the bottom half of the second with a ground-rule double to left field before stealing third and scoring on a wild pitch. Brittany Ewing walked and mimicked Rodriguez with a stolen base and a run scored on a wild pitch before Swearinger escaped the inning.
Another Elk Creek scoring opportunity was erased on a double play in the third and the Eagles lit up the scoreboard in the bottom half of the inning.
Hansen led off with a single and scored on an RBI-base hit by Lauren Ferreira before a series of walks, errors and hit batters loaded the bases and pushed five runs across the plate.
Hansen stepped to the plate again with the bases loaded and one out and ended the game with a single. Two runs scored before a throw to third sailed into the outfield and allowed Alejandra Gutierrez and Hansen to come home.
The second game of the doubleheader was scheduled for five innings so the 10-run rule went into effect in the third inning and the Eagles won 11-0.
Princeton (6-6, 4-2 Evergreen) was scheduled to travel to Dunsmuir for a doubleheader on Friday and Elk Creek has a road doubleheader against Greenville on Tuesday.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.