As the walks began to pile up, one thought continued to swirl in the mind of North Thurston fastpitch coach Pat Dahl.
“You’re just not supposed to give up that many walks and win,” Dahl said.
By the end of the game North Thurston pitchers had combined to walk 14 batters, and Dahl’s assessment would usually hold true — if not for the Rams’ bats.
Dejah Hickman hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Dominique Greeno drove in four runs as North Thurston remained undefeated in Class 3A Narrows League play with a wild 20-15 win over Capital at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey on Monday.
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“The big concern for us at the start of the season was our hitting,” Dahl said. “The girls were tentative in the box. So that’s something we’ve really focused on, being aggressive at the plate.”
Passive no more, the Rams pounded out 23 hits to win the slugfest and remain unbeaten in league (4-0).
Hickman went 5 for 5 with her second home run of the season, a pair of doubles and two singles. She finished with five RBIs.
Greeno finished 4 for 5 with three singles and a double, while Tara Giemer, who picked up the victory, smacked a two-run double in the fifth inning to reclaim the lead for good for North Thurston, 15-14.
The Rams, winners of four consecutive games, trailed 14-7 after Capital’s Taylor Owens capped the Cougars’ five-run fourth inning with a two-run double.
The Cougars (4-4 overall, 4-1 league) did most of their damage during an eight-run third inning as they turned an early 3-0 hole into a seemingly commanding 9-3 advantage.
It was in the third where Giemer replaced Ciarra Davis after North Thurston’s starting pitcher registered her fourth walk of the game.
Giemer had difficulties early on with her location as well, walking the first two batters she faced with the second coming with the bases loaded.
“You can’t give Capital that many free bases. They have too many good hitters,” Dahl said. “We gave them the opportunities and they jumped on it.”
Maddie Lincoln’s two-run double broke the 3-all tie before Paige Schieferstein, Rachel Wofford, Rachel Erickson and Owens all drove in a run, leading to the six-run lead.
Hickman, who followed Greeno’s run-scoring single in the first with her home run, connected on a bases-loaded single in the fourth. Two throwing errors later and Hickman became the fourth Ram to cross home plate on the play, cutting the deficit to 9-7.
North Thurston scored four runs in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings, then added a five-run sixth as the Rams rattled off 13 unanswered runs en route to a 20-14 lead.
“The early part of the season we were still getting used to playing with each other,” Hickman said. “We had that combination of returning players and new players. It just took us a while to get comfortable with each other. Now when we get back to the dugout (after hitting) we’re talking about what pitches we saw and what to look for. We’re communicating now. It’s something we weren’t really doing before.”
Aaliyah Kautz opened North Thurston’s five-run sixth inning with an RBI double before Hickman and Davis both drove in a pair of runs.
Capital was able to scratch one more run across in the seventh on a Schieferstein RBI single, but the deficit proved to be too great to overcome.
“Capital is going to do plenty of damage in this league,” Dahl said. “This is a major win for us. There’s still a lot of games left, but Capital’s going to be right there at the end. So it’s nice to win the first one.”