Softball bats catch fire

Both Camas and Washougal teams take win streaks into spring break

By Dan Trujillo, Columbian staff writer

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Sarah Nidick and Harli Hubbard can hit a softball and throw it for strikes.

Nidick whipped up 11 strikeouts Wednesday, drilled a 2-run home run and drove in five runs to help the Papermakers beat Hudson’s Bay 12-2 at Camas High School.

“It was a really good day, despite the weather. It was pouring out there, but me and Mikaela [Searight] just clicked and we were totally fine,” Nidick said. “I never had 11 strikeouts in a game before. It was a good feeling.”

On March 26, Hubbard and Erin Tauscher each hit 2-run home runs to lead the Papermakers to a 13-2 league opening victory at Mountain View. Hubbard added nine strikeouts in seven innings pitched. Tauscher had a 2-run single before going deep. She finished with 4 RBI in the game.

Camas was clinging on to a 3-1 advantage going into the fifth inning. Hubbard then set paper on fire by clubbing a 2-run home run over the fence in dead center. She fanned the flames by waving her hands in the air as she rounded the bases.

“It was one of those hits that felt good right away,” Hubbard said. “It felt good to get the team fired up.”

Eight and nine hitters Amee Aarhus and Hannah Welborn kept the wood crackling and popping. Aarhus delivered two doubles, a triple and scored three times. Welborn added a double, triple and three runs scored.

Tauscher provided even more fireworks with her 2-run blast in the top of the seventh.

“Once somebody gets a hit, it’s like a chain reaction of hits,” she said. “It never stops.”

Camas cruises into spring break with a 6-0 record. Important league games with Columbia River, Kelso and Prairie are still on the horizon. Seniors Nidick, Searight and Cali Mulholland want to go out with a bang.

“We’re not just playing for ourselves. We want to leave a legacy,” Nidick said. “Our focus is on inning by inning. Win league and then win districts. When we get to region, all our focus has to be on winning that first game before we can even think about going to state.”

Washougal wins three in a row

After sweeping Stevenson in a doubleheader at home, the Panther softball players pounded 26 hits in a 23-7 victory at Fort Vancouver on March 26. In those three wins in a row, Washougal scored a grand total of 53 runs.

“I think the girls have really stepped up this year,” said senior co-captain Mackenzie Helland. “I’m glad to see us hitting the ball and making good plays. There’s always room for improvement, though.”

The Panthers shredded Stevenson 14-4 and 16-3 in those two games on March 24. Ashley Carroll picked up the win on the mound in the first game. She also went 3-for-3 at the plate and drove in two runs. Madisen Baldwin went 4-for-4 at the dish and knocked in two runs. Brooke Croeni had a home run and 3 RBI, Helland added three hits and an RBI, Sydney Loveland plated two runs and Savannah McDowell doubled and drove in a run.

Jackie Cohrs clinched the win on the mound in the second game. Baldwin went 4-for-4 with two doubles and 3 RBI. Croeni went 4-for-4 with a triple and an RBI.

“We definitely shocked a lot of people by coming out and scoring 30 runs in one day,” Baldwin said. “Who said small towns can’t win games?”

Washougal stayed hot against Fort Vancouver. Helland had five hits and drove in two runs, Croeni knocked in three runs on four hits, Baldwin brought in four runs on three hits and Carroll plated two runs on four hits.

“Once we get rolling, we’re going,” Croeni said. “There’s no stopping us.”

Helland said the Panthers have shown the ability to play multiple positions. Even she has stepped out from behind the plate to play second base and shortstop.

“We have some younger catchers who need playing time, so I told the coaches to put me out on the field somewhere,” she said. “Put me where you need to coach, and I’ll play. I think that’s the spirit we all have.”

Helland is thrilled to get into the league schedule after spring break. All she asks is for the sun to shine.

“I’m excited to see how all the teams in our league have changed, and to show them that we have changed too,” Helland said. “We have some really good girls out this year. As long as we’re playing ball, we’re going to work hard and we’re going to have good attitudes.”

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