Pirates tame Tigers
Wheatland High pitcher Courtney Judkins is quick to turn attention away from herself, instead shifting the spotlight onto her defense.
Maybe she's humble or maybe the junior knows her place in the Pirates' senior-dominated defense. Whatever the case, Judkins deserves much of the credit for Wheatland's 8-1 victory Friday over visiting Oroville (5-7, 3-2).
Judkins tossed a complete-game three-hitter for her fourth win of the season, and the Pirates (9-4, 4-1) moved into sold possession of second place in the Butte View League.
She allowed two hits and an unearned run in the first inning but dominated over the final six, allowing just a harmless single in the fourth. She retired the final six batters she faced, while fanning six, walking three and hitting two.
“She was a little bit wild but kind of effectively wild,” Wheatland coach Jim Vossler said. “But once she got warmed up, she makes them it the ball and we're going to make plays. That's pretty much the way she's been all year.”
With eight seniors behind her, Judkins said she has a tremendous amount of confidence on the mound. The Pirates did not commit an error.
“I just really wanted to put it in play and show it's not just me out there, it's my defense too,” she said.
Wheatland gave Judkins plenty of run support and broke the game open by scoring five runs in the third inning off Oroville pitcher Alicia Logasa. Senior Jessica Daugherty hit a RBI-double in the inning, and Maryann Lesko knocked in a run with a single.
Logasa was strong through the first two innings, giving up two singles, but Wheatland caught up in the third. Her defense committed two errors that led to two runs and she threw a wild pitch to allow another.
“We were not used to her speed because we faced Winters the other day and they had a slower pitcher, so we had to get used to it,” said Daugherty, who added a double in the sixth. “Once we saw them make errors, we realized we could do this.”
An Oroville error in the fifth led to Lesko scoring on Floramaria Enriquez's sacrifice-fly, and Logasa walked in a run to give Wheatland a 7-1 lead.
Danna Owens knocked home Daugherty for the Pirates' final run in the sixth.
“We're a solid team. We've been 40-5 the last two years and that's because we have solid players,” Vossler said. “We can really play defense and offense. We didn't do great (offensively) today, but we did enough and when we got people on base, we seemed to get them in.”
Judkins allowed a lead-off single to Kattie Carrico in the first and she later scored on Tanisha Osborn's single to left.
“I realized I needed to step it up a little bit because they were going to be either hitting and scoring runs or I just needed to pitch it to put it in play so my defense could work,” Judkins said.
Kristi Hill singled and scored a run in the fifth and Judkins reached on a bunt single and scored in the third.
Wheatland trails first-place Sutter by a single game in the BVL. They have split two league games with the Huskies this season.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Justin Miller can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at email@example.com