DAYTON - Katie Crnkovich found herself in a new role for the Spring Creek High softball team on Saturday. The junior, who normally splits the pitching chores for the Spartans, found herself in a solo role one night after teammate Katie Garcia sustained injuries in an automobile rollover.
Crnkovich was up to the task in her first doubleheader, as the junior pitched back-to-back one-hitters to help Northern 3A division-leading Spring Creek sweep both games from Dayton, 7-1 and 3-0.
Even though the losses dropped Dayton to 0-5 in league (0-6 overall), coach Dusti Houk saw some rays of light.
"We're starting to put the ball in play. We're very young and we've been struggling at the plate, but we made some good contact today, we just hit the ball right at people. Now we just need to start finding the openings," Houk said.
"And we stepped up with our defense in the second game. We had one inning (the seventh) and gave up two runs, but I was pleased with the way the kids played."
Crnkovich allowed one run on one hit in the opener - Lauren Fisher's fourth inning single - plus she struck out 12, walked one and hit two batters. She was close to perfect in game two, retiring the first 17 batters she faced and 21 of 22 overall. Freshman Gina Henderson doubled with two outs in the sixth to account for the lone Dayton hit.
Nicole Greer gave a respectable pitching performance for Dayton. In the opener, the senior allowed seven runs on eight hits, struck out eight and walked none. She also pitched five innings of relief in the second game and allowed two walks - the first she's allowed this season.
Spring Creek took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Jonna Ward singled, stole second and third, then scored on a ground out by Crnkovich.