MONTESANO — Montesano’s supposed hitting slump vanished quickly on Thursday.
Lindsay Pace’s three-run homer ignited a seven-run first inning as the Bulldogs trounced rival Elma, 13-3 in five innings, in an Evergreen 1A League softball showdown on the turf at Rottle Field.
Samantha Stanfield pitched a three-hitter as the reigning state 1A champion Bulldogs improved to 2-0 in league and 6-0 overall. Elma fell to 1-1 and 8-2.
Despite Monte’s unbeaten start, Bulldog coach Pat Pace had expressed some concern as recently as last week about what he viewed as a tentative offensive approach.
That wasn’t the case Thursday. Lindsay Pace and sisters Samantha and Jessica Stanfield homered to highlight a 16-hit attack.
“We’ve been preaching to the girls to be a little more aggressive at the plate, not to let so many good pitches go by,” Coach Pace said. “Overall, I’m pretty happy with our approach at the plate today.”
The first six Bulldogs to bat in the first inning reached base against Elma pitchers Quin Mikel and Destry Dineen, with all coming around to score.
After singles by Abi Parkin and Matti Ekerson opened the inning, Pace literally hit one out of the park. Her drive landed on the track beyond the temporary center-field fence, took one hop over a boundary fence and disappeared into the woods.
The Bulldogs added four more runs in the inning, with Peyton Poler contributing an RBI double and Katie Granstrom a run-scoring single.
The Stanfield sisters each connected in the fourth inning. Samantha lined a leadoff homer over the left-field fence, while her sister Jessica delivered an even longer blast over the center-field barrier with Granstrom aboard later in the frame.
Having manufactured two runs without benefit of a hit in the third inning, Elma had the satisfaction of briefly prolonging the contest with another run in the fifth.
One strike away from a 12-2 mercy-rule loss, the Eagles stayed alive on Kassedy Olson’s two-out walk, Dineen’s single to left and Molly Johnston’s run-scoring infield hit.
The respite, however, was momentary. After the Bulldogs loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth with two walks and a single, Parkin scored the game-ending run on a wild pitch.
Parkin, with three hits and a walk, was on base on all four plate appearances.
Samantha Stanfield battled her control at times but still struck out nine. Two of Elma’s hits were of the infield variety.
Elma coach Roger Elliott said his pitchers experienced difficulty adjusting to the absence of a rubber on the makeshift field, but didn’t use that as an excuse.
“They crushed the ball and we didn’t hit the ball,” Elliott said. “It was ugly.”
The Eagles host Forks on Tuesday. The Bulldogs visit Prairie in a non-league makeup game Wednesday.
Elma 002 01 — 3 3 1
Monte 702 31 — 13 16 0
Mikel, Dineen (1) and Cain, Olson; S. Stanfield and Poler.
RBI: Elma — Dineen, Johnston. Montesano — Pace 3, S. Stanfield, Poler, Granstrom 2, J. Stanfield 2, Kersker. Three hits: Montesano — Parkin. Two hits: Montesano — Ekerson, Pace, S. Stanfield, Poler, J. Stanfield. Home runs: Montesano — Pace, S. Stanfield, J. Stanfield. Doubles: Montesano — Poler 2.
Winning pitcher — S. Stanfield (walked three; struck out nine). Losing pitcher — Mikel (walked none; struck out none).