LONG BEACH — Kaytlenn Whelden’s home run and a fifth-inning triple play helped Ilwaco salvage a split of a double-header against South Bend Saturday. Ilwaco won the second game 17-5 after dropping the opener 14-8.

In the opener, South Bend broke a 6-6 tie with four runs in the sixth inning and added four more in the seventh. Jaymie Patana tripled and doubled for Ilwaco.

In the late-afternoon game, Whelden led off the fourth inning with a shot that landed in deep left field in Ilwaco’s cavernous home ballpark. Whelden rounded third base as the throw came in to third and slid home just as the relay throw arrived for her first career home run.

“I was just looking for a slow ball in the middle of the plate, and I got it,” Whelden said.

Whelden, in her first year of high school softball, showed she has already become a dangerous hitter.

“She’s one of our better hitters,” coach Barbara Patana said. “I have her right there with Arianna (Bell) and Jaymie (Patana) in the middle of the lineup.”

The homer extended Ilwaco’s lead to 3-0. Gracie Barnett followed with a double and came around to score.

In South Bend’s half of the fifth, the Indians had two runs in, the bases loaded, no outs, and trailed 7-4. But Barnett, playing shortstop, ran in and caught a line drive and threw to Asu Herrera-Sanchez at second to catch the runner off the bag. Sanchez threw back to Arianna Bell on the pitcher’s mound, but then Ilwaco realized the play was not over; the runner from third had come home without tagging up. Bell ran over to third for the force-out, completing the 6-4-1 triple play.

Ilwaco pulled away with a six-run sixth inning.

Lindsy Agee went 3 for 3 in the game, Patana was 3 for 5, and Bell went 2 for 4.

Aaron Mead is a sports writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or aaroncmead@gmail.com.

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