Closing the gap

Amber Monroe fires a throw from shortstop during Saturday's doubleheader with Omak.

Amber Monroe fires a throw from shortstop during Saturday’s doubleheader with Omak.

TONASKET – As the Tonasket fastpitch softball team gets ready to face teams for the second time around, Tigers coach Emily Rimestad is eager to see the payoff of her young team’s improvement.

The league wins haven’t come yet, but as the Tigers showed in their Saturday, April 15, sweep at the hands of Omak, they’re about one “bad inning” away from being on an even keel with other league squads.

“I’m happy with where we’re at,” Rimestad said after Omak swept her team, 13-1 and 15-1. “When we started the season there were a lot of skills missing, things like being ready (on defense) on the balls of your feet … We’ve come a long ways in those aspects of the game.

“We’re competing now. With a little more experience of playing games against other teams instead of just against ourselves in practice, we’ll get better. The progress is definitely there.”

In both of Saturday’s games, the Pioneers took advantage of one big inning to break things open. In the opener, Omak’s Shirlee Ramos capped an eight-run first inning with a home run. The Tigers settled down from there, allowing five runs over the final five innings.

Rilee Fewkes pitched for the Tigers, walking seven and striking out three. She also singled and scored on Sadie Long’s RBI single in the first. Amber Monroe had the Tigers’ only other hit.

In the second game, Omak (6-4, 3-3 Caribou Trail League) scored six runs in the sixth inning to end the game one inning early. Long was solid in the pitching circle until tiring in the final inning, striking out two and walking three before walking four in the sixth.

Courtney Jones’ RBI single plated Baylie Tyus with the Tigers’ run in the third.

“Part of the process has been getting the girls to play different positions so they know better what to do,” Rimestad said. “Our defense today was definitely better than it has been.”

The defensive highlight for the Tigers came in the second, with Long, Fewkes and Tyus combining for a pitcher-to-first-to-home double play.

“I’m very happy with the way the girls played,” Rimestad said, “and extremely happy we got past the fifth inning in both games.”

The Tigers (4-6, 0-6 CTL) host Cashmere for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 21, and play at Omak on April 24.

Okanogan 11, Tonasket 0

OKANOGAN – The Tigers stayed within range of Okanogan through four innings on Tuesday, April 10, but a three-run fifth inning put the game out of reach, and the Bulldogs finished it off with a six-run sixth, capped by Tyler Schreckengost’s three-run home run.

Melody Wolen, Sadie Long and Amber Monroe each had hits for the Tigers. Rylee Fewkes pitched, walking two and striking out three in the complete-game effort.

Okanogan went on to upset state-ranked Cascade 13-12 to earn a split of its Saturday doubleheader.