By Jerod Young • Jerod Young • 

Banks handles Yamhill-Carlton softball, Smith sidelined

With the program in the midst of a down season, Yamhill-Carlton had a looming question to answer Tuesday in its first meeting of 2013 with Banks: How would they handle adversity against the best?

Yamhill-Carlton (1-5) struggled Tuesday vs. the Cowapa League-leading Lady Braves (9-2), and lost 4-0, its fourth straight game.

Tuesday’s game featured Kaylin Vandomelen pitching for Banks. She has accepted a scholarship to pitch for Division I North Dakota next season. Vandomelen threw against Tigers’ sophomore Emily Drevdahl, who was getting the rare start for Yamhill-Carlton after ace Molly Smith, the Tigers’ regular starter, complained of arm soreness.

“I usually don’t start, so I was a little nervous,” Drevdahl said. “I think I did a really good job just staying focused throughout the whole game.”

Drevdahl walked Braves’ leadoff hitter Megan Bunn and surrendered an RBI double to No.2 hitter Hannah Vandomelen to give Banks a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Drevdahl got out of the first inning without any further runs.

Kaylin Vandomelen cruised through the first two innings, getting by on a near-unhittable fast ball. Through two innings, she was perfect with no runs, walks, hit batters, or errors, and had three strikeouts.

Yamhill-Carlton coach John Kuehnel said he thought the Tigers were out of sorts against the Cowapa League’s top team.

“We were out of it this game, but I think we’ll be right with them next game,” Kuehnel said. “This pitcher we faced tonight was an exceptional pitcher.”

Drevdahl settled down and showed potential of a bright future through the second and third innings. She allowed no runs on two hits and a strikeout.

In the top of the fourth inning, Drevdahl began to struggle. After getting Banks’ leadoff hitter to ground out, she gave up a triple to freshman Makenna Partain, who scored on an RBI single from Bunn. Bunn later scored on an outfield error to give the Braves a 3-0 lead en route to the win.

Kaylin Vandomelen continued to cruise in the circle for Banks. She allowed Yamhill-Carlton’s first of two hits in the third inning, a single by DeLaney Ogden. Vandomelen didn’t allow the final Yamhill-Carlton hit until the fifth inning, a single by senior Chelsea Frank

Frank said despite the loss, the Tigers still accomplished a goal, even in defeat.

“I thought we played great today,” Frank, the lone senior starter said. “We came back from that Dayton game where we had so many errors, and really cut those down and played well today.”

Drevdahl went another two innings before giving up Banks’ final run.

She finished the game giving up four runs on seven hits, a walk, and two strikeouts.

“They had some really good hitters,” Drevdahl said. “I think once I was able to make adjustments I was able to pitch around them pretty well.”

The University of North Dakota-bound Kaylin Vandomelen finished the game with no runs on two hits, no walks, and nine strikeouts.

As for the Tigers’ goal of cutting down errors — in their last game against Dayton, Yamhill-Carlton committed seven throwing errors. Against the Braves, the Tigers committed two.

Kuehnel admitted this is the slowest start Yamhill-Carlton has gotten off to since he started coaching the Tigers. Banks continues to lead the series with the Tigers 12-8 since 2006.

Yamhill-Carlton goes for its second win of the season at 4 p.m. today at Astoria.

Kuehnel said he believes the slow start is fixable, and said it should come to an end soon.

“Yeah, we have had a slow start,” Kuehnel said with a laugh. “One of the slowest starts I’ve seen since I’ve been here. But this team is young, strong, and they’ll come back from this.”

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