Colville softball team rounding into form

Colville High had no trouble improving its spring fast-pitch softball record to 6-0, 8-2 last week with Northeast A League wins over Freeman, Riverside and Chewelah.The Indians, winners of five straight and seven of their last nine, started the week back on April 10 with an easy 16-0 drubbing of visiting Freeman at Dean Vaagen Park.On Wednesday, Colville swept host Riverside 11-0, 12-0. On Saturday, back home at Dean Vaagen Park, CHS rolled to easy 15-1, 11-0 wins over Chewelah.THIS WEEKColville faced Lakeside (5-0, 6-0) at home on Tuesday in a battle of NEA unbeatens. Lakeside won four of six meetings between the two teams last season. Colville swept the Eagles for the NEA pennant last spring before LHS got a measure of revenge by beating the Indians at district, Bi-District and at the State 1A Tournament in Spokane.“I think we have an axe to grind,” CHS head coach Mandy Sumner said of Lakeside’s advantage over Colville last spring. “If we play Colville ball, we win. It is as simple as that.”But it isn’t always that simple. The Indians scuffled early in the season, largely because of some off-field issues and resultant holes in the line-up. But Colville is at full strength again and playing well.Indians challenged in practice“I feel much more optimistic this Sunday than last Sunday,” Sumner added. “Let’s just say that the challenge was laid down and our girls ran with it. We have been able to readjust and refocus…we have been humbled. But at this point, the team is playing with a sense of urgency and an air of having something to prove.“We need to continue to improve and continue to stay hungry, sharp and edgy.” CHS will host Newport (0-4, 2-4) on Friday at Dean Vaagen Park. The opener of the doubleheader gets started at 4 p.m.RECAPColville looked sharp in easily dispatching Chewelah (0-5, 1-7) in last Saturday’s doubleheader. Jolene Rogers picked up both wins in the circle. She surrendered only three hits all day.“These are the games where our defense and base-running both came together,” Sumner said. “We were aggressive, our trail runners did a great job…we put on delays…it was all good to see as we head into this week.”Chewelah pretty much went in order in the first game against Rogers, until Lavonne Smith crashed a solo home run in the fifth inning.Back-up pitcher and first baseman McKenna Cabbage got in some valuable work in the circle in the doubleheader. Cabbage came on in the fifth inning and struck out the side. The only glitch was Smith’s home run.Shortstop Taylor Kellum had three singles in three appearances. Jessica Wittmeyer and Rogers were both 2-4. Rogers also had a home run. Wittmeyer’s hits were both doubles. Tasji Urhausen, Cassie Cote and Cabbage had one hit apiece.Chewelah pitching gave up eight walks.In the first game, the nine-run fourth inning was the big inning. In the second game, Colville plated eight runs in the third to blow open the game.Colville managed only three hits in the second game, but eight more walks by Chewelah pitching meant plenty of offensive opportunities.Wittmeyer, Cabbage and Cote all singled for Colville.Eight-run third “We didn’t hit much in the second game, but I was very happy with our defense (no errors in either game) and our base-running,” Sumner said.In the lopsided win over Freeman, Colville plated single runs in the first and second innings before blowing the game open with eight runs in the third and six more in the fourth inning. Colville collected 11 hits and committed a pair of errors.Freeman managed only three hits off Rogers and Cabbage.“Our goal against Freeman was to come out and play like we cared,” Sumner said. Mission accomplished.Wittmeyer continues to be very productive in the leadoff role for the Indians. “She has fence ball power and lightening quick speed,” Sumner said. The little right-hander went 4-4 (all singles). Number two hitter Urhausen walked and singled, while catcher Jammie Madonna, Kellum, Cote and Baughn all singled.Sumner is pleased with her two pitchers. While Rogers is a proven commodity in the circle and an All-League and All-state performer, Cabbage is the heir apparent once Rogers graduates this spring.“We are trying to get McKenna innings every game,” her coach said, “so she is ready for more heavy innings when we get to multiple game scenarios in the playoffs.“Jolene is an excellent pitcher with meticulous control, but having a power pitcher as her circle mate can really help mentally.”Cabbage, with a fastball well over 60 miles an hour “when she gets going,” according to Sumner, is focusing on her movement, control and multiple inning strength.“As the season progresses, it should be exciting to see what this duo can do,” Sumner pointed out. Rogers’ line against Freeman—four innings of work, six strikeouts, no walks and three hits. Cabbage finished up the final two frames, striking out two. She didn’t walk anyone and didn’t surrender a hit to the Scotties.In the sweep of Riverside, Colville hitters had a field day, collecting 32 hits in the twin-bill.Riverside managed only five hits off Rogers and Cabbage.It didn’t help host Riverside that the Rams didn’t have a fence around the field. Advantage Colville and their speed and power.“We have both speed and long-ball power,” Sumner said. “If the ball got over an outfielder’s head, it was home run time.”On the day, Colville hit four home runs. Three of those would have been “legitimately” over any fence, the coach figured. In the first game, Wittmeyer, Leanna Carr, Rogers and Kellum all had singles, while Cote went 2-2 with a pair of singles. April Hinds was 2-4 with a pair of singles, and Madonna was 2-3 with a single and a double. Urhausen, starting to find her offensive groove, nearly hit for the cycle with a home run, a triple and a single. She also drove in a pair of runs. Hinds and Carr both had a pair of RBIs.Madonna was dynamic with her arm behind the plate, picking off two runners at first base, one at third and anybody who dared to try and steal second base.“She came out and caused absolute havoc with their baser-runners,” Sumner said. “She is extremely focused and playing very tough. I am very glad she is on our team and we don’t have to play against her.”Sumner says her first-year catcher has also improved her defensive skills and “is doing everything possible to anchor our pitching staff.”In the second game, Wittmeyer had a home run and a single. Urhausen homered again and Rogers was 3-4 at the plate (two singles and a triple).Madonna had four singles and Hinds was 2-3 with a triple and a single. Carr and Cote also both went 2-3 and Cote and Cabbage were 1-3.Rogers went three innings to pick up the win. She struck out two, walked two and surrendered two hits. Cabbage came on in relief and pitched two strong innings, striking out three, walking no one and holding Riverside hitless. CHS 15, Chewelah 1Che. 000 01— 1 2 2Col. 123 9 x—15 10 0CHS 11, Chewelah 0Che. 000 00—0 1 2Col. 308 9x—11 3 0CHS 16, Freeman 0Fre. 000 0— 0 3 3Col. 118 6—16 11 2CHS 11, Riverside 0CHS 450 02—11 14 1Riv. 000 00— 0 3 4CHS 12, Riverside 0CHS 303 42—12 18 1Riv. 000 00-- 0 2 4