WARDEN — It was a good litmus test.
A team starting seven underclassmen against the reigning district champions. And although Warden was swept by Cle Elum-Roslyn 18-14 and 4-1, head coach Wes Richins was pleased with his team’s play.
“They’ve got three or four really big bats in that lineup and they hit the ball pretty well today and that was good for us to see,” Richins said. “I started four freshman, three sophomores so we only had two upperclassmen on the field. What I was telling them was they’re making some rookie mistakes, but they’re learning from them really quickly.
“I like this team. They’re going to get better and better.”
The lack of practice in the field showed on both sides in the first game with a combined 32 runs. But despite the youth, Warden can hit the ball.
Freshman Jocelyn Chagoya blasted her first career home run over the left field fence in the sixth inning. It was a towering no-doubter that drove in a pair of runs. After the game, Richins opined that Chagoya could contend for the school’s home run record.
Chagoya’s shot highlighted a six-run sixth by the Cougars. Kassandra Rodriguez had a two-run single and Hope Pruneda hit a RBI double.
Freshman center fielder Aaliyah Escamilla was the beneficiary of the strong hitting, scoring three runs. Escamilla was also 3-for-4 in Game 1.
“She did really well for us this afternoon,” Richins said.
Jizelle Pruneda worked a scoreless seventh with two strikeouts to keep comeback hopes alive.
A pair of ground-outs scored two runs in the home half before Cle Elum was able to retire the side.
Game 2 was called due to darkness in the second inning with the Warriors ahead 4-1.
“It was the first time we’ve seen live batters, too,” Richins said. “It was a good non-league game for us, but now it gets real on Saturday. We’ve got College Place — a team we know nothing about. They’re a newer team in our league and we’re knew in that league, too, so we’ve never seen them before.
“We’ve got to figure out some things pretty quick.”