Photo by Ray Rodriguez
The Dalles slugger Bailey LeBreton (16) is mobbed at home plate by her teammates in their 2-1 victory over No. 5 Hood River Valley. TD had no hits entering the seventh, until a single by Kilee Hoylman and a walk-off home run by LeBreton.
As of Thursday, May 17, 2018
The 2018 softball season has provided the fans and players with a little bit of everything, whether it was injuries, losing skids and everything else imaginable.
That’s why last Friday’s dramatic victory was that much sweeter.
Bailey LeBreton smacked a two-run, walk-off home run off the Columbia River Conference co-Pitcher of the Year, Hannah McNerney to give The Dalles Riverhawks a 2-1 triumph in varsity softball action at 16th Street Ballpark.
“I feel like our attitudes really changed in this last game and we all just decided that we had nothing to lose, so we were going to go all out, which we should have been doing the whole time,” LeBreton said. “We did it at times this year, but it really didn’t click until tonight. I don’t know. I think we just did good and had the right mindset in this game. It was a fun way to end the season.”
Up until the seventh inning, McNerney held The Dalles hitless with 10 strikeouts and a walk allowed.
With one out in the seventh frame, Kilee Hoylman singled to centerfield to put the tying run on base.
The next batter, Jodi Thomasian grounded out to second base and nearly beat the throw to first for the second out, leaving LeBreton as the Hawks’ final hope.
In LeBreton’s two previous at-bats, she walked and popped out.
On a 1-0 pitch, LeBreton powered through McNerney’s fastball for a two-run home run.
LeBreton said her team showed grit when the game was on the line, which is a characteristic she looks forward to seeing from her team in 2019.
“I think that was the perfect way to end this season,” LeBreton said. “We showed that we can come out strong and still keep battling. They are ranked fifth in the state or whatever, and we just beat them. We can. We can beat all these teams, but we really came together this time and figured it out. I know this is something we can carry over. It is going to be exciting next year.”
In addition to her hitting heroics, LeBreton shut down a hot-hitting Hood River Valley squad.
The junior allowed one run on seven hits with no walks, two hit batters and three strikeouts.
After a one-out sixth inning double, LeBreton retired the next five batters she faced.
“Bailey has been stepping it up in these last few games and it is exciting to see,” said senior shortstop Jodi Thomasian. “I can’t wait to see what she does as a senior.”
Over the last two non-playoff seasons, The Dalles has amassed an 11-39-1 record and allowed 451 runs.
Add in a new coach and other changes made to the roster and Thomasian said her final two seasons have been challenging.
“It has been really frustrating. We have gone through so many ups and downs as whole, not just as individuals,” Thomasian said “A big part of it was our mental game. Softball is a game of failure. It is one of those sports where getting a hit three times out of 10 is good. We really went through our ups and downs with this program with a coaching change and everything, which made it rough to get used to. I think, in the future, as the coach gets further along in stuff, it should get better.”
With Thomasian, Emma Weir, Jessika Nanez and Kathryn Bradford leaving the team to graduation, there will be holes to fill, but plenty of athletes are available that can contribute right away.
Thomasian knows a lot of things need to occur if the Riverhawks intend on getting back to the top.
“I think this year, we didn’t have as many people working as a team, it was more of an individual mentality,” Thomasian said. “I think if the girls just get it in their heads that we are a team and that we can be good, we will go far. It takes a little bit of focus. We know that we are good players and we can beat any team when we are on, as we just showed against Hood River. It’s just we have to have that mental game. It just has to be stronger. It is not up to par, as it was in my first two years.”