MOSCOW — A nonleague softball doubleheader Thursday offered a little of everything — timely hits, untimely miscues, double-digit-run innings, a Little League home run — but not pleasant weather.
But the subpar conditions are on par for spring sports in Idaho, and for visiting Potlatch, the harsh weather was of little concern as the action marked a long-awaited return to the diamond.
The Loggers and Moscow battled a biting crossfield wind and spotty sunshine throughout and split the games at the Moscow School District Community Playfields. Potlatch won the opener 26-12 before Moscow bounced back in the nightcap, 19-2. Each game lasted five innings.
The Game 2 win was the Bears’ first home triumph in three tries this season, and for Potlatch, the Game 1 victory was a welcomed way to finally ring in the season’s arrival. The Loggers (1-1) hadn’t played a game since the Class 1A state championship on May 18, 2019.
“Had some mistakes, but it was nice to be out there,” Potlatch coach Dean Butterfield said. “Nice to have the girls get some playing time. They’ll always get better.”
The Loggers, who fell in the aforementioned 2019 state title game, jumped on Moscow early in Game 1. The visitors capitalized on the Bears’ compounding defensive miscues, which included overthrows, drops, wild pitches, passed balls and general miscommunications, with aggressive baserunning and strings of hits. Potlatch scored six runs in the second inning and seven more in the third to lead 15-7 through three.
After a scoreless fourth, the Loggers sent 15 batters to the plate and tallied seven hits in an 11-run fifth. Adriana Arciga’s two-run single and Josie Larson’s three-RBI double did the big damage.
The double was Larson’s fourth hit of the game and gave her a final line of 4-for-5 with two doubles and five RBI. Tayva McKinney also was 4-for-5 — all singles — and added two RBI. Larson, McKinney and Rebecca Butterfield each had two hits in the marathon inning.
Potlatch got plenty of production out of its 16 hits in the opener, but also benefited from 11 Bears errors.
“Those girls were on fire and very aggressive. It’s going to be a fun bunch. They’re young, but they’re very aggressive,” Dean Butterfield said of his team, which returns four starters from the 2019 team. His other five starters made their high school debuts in the doubleheader.
“Proud of them today (for) the way the first game went.”
Moscow (2-5) was the aggressor in Game 2, scoring four times in the first inning and matching Potlatch’s earlier output with an 11-run second. Bears hitters jumped on pitches early in counts and amassed eight hits during the big inning.
Moscow sent 15 hitters to bat in the inning. Bell Fleischman had two of her team’s eight hits in the inning, including a triple.
Potlatch, like Moscow did in the opener, struggled defensively in Game 2. But the Bears were sharp and seized their opportunities.
“The first game, we came out flat. We weren’t mentally awake,” Moscow coach Ted Matsuoka said. “But the second game, we came out with renewed energy. I thought we played a lot better game. We played the way we’re supposed to play.”
Fleischman finished 3-for-3 and Amanda Pouchnik was 2-for-4 to highlight Moscow’s 10 hits in the second game.
In total, the teams combined for 59 runs, 32 hits and 29 errors.
Potlatch continues its season April 16 with a doubleheader at Troy. Moscow’s next games are Saturday in Coeur d’Alene, against Coeur d’Alene and Lake City.
Potlatch 267 0(11)—26 16 5
Moscow 142 14—12 2 11
Rebecca Butterfield, Josie Larson (3), Butterfield (5) and Tayva McKinney; Maya Kees, Sophia Elliss (3) and Sidnie Smith, Emily Hammond (5).
Potlatch hits — Larson 4 (2 2B), McKinney 4, Adriana Arciga 2, Butterfield 2, Emma Chambers, Kendra Heitstuman, Kaylen Hadaller, Allison Akins.
Moscow hits — Amanda Pouchnik, Shelby Rupe.
Potlatch 020 00—2 4 11
Moscow 4(11)0 4x—19 10 2
Josie Larson and Tayva McKinney; Amanda Pouchnik and Sidnie Smith.
Potlatch hits — Kendra Heitstuman (3B), Kaylen Hadaller (2B), McKinney, Taylor Carpenter.
Moscow hits — Bell Fleischman 3 (3B), Pouchnik 2, Sydnee Verlin 2B, Morgan Ewart 2B, Smith, Angel Sparks, Maya Kees.
Guernsey may be contacted at email@example.com, (208) 848-2268 or on Twitter @MD_Guernsey.