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For more than three hours, Willow Creek and Tualatin City exchanged knockout blows Monday night in the District 4 Little League Softball Tournament at Alpenrose.

Finally, Tualatin City landed the last and most severe blow, scoring five runs in the top half of the sixth inning for an 11-8 win, to begin pool play. Willow Creek showed remarkable resiliency, rallying from a deficit three times throughout the contest.

“They don’t quit,” Willow Creek coach Brian McNeil said. “They don’t quit. They go out there and have fun.”

Willow Creek went up 8-6 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Veronica George stepped to the plate with a runner on first and no outs.

George hit the ball on the screws, sending it over the head of the Tualatin City rightfielder.

George rounded the bases, tripped slightly as she came around third, but was still able to slide into home and beat the throw for a two-run-inside-the park home run.

“I thought I was going to get walked,” George said.

In the top of the sixth inning, though, times grew tough for Willow Creek.

Tualatin City scored a run on a throwing error to third base to make the score 8-7 with one out. With the bases loaded, Tualatin City made the score 8-8 on a fielders’ choice on a ball to second base.

A single brought in another two runs and another single made the score 11-8.

“It was a little unlucky,” Willow Creek pitcher Annika McNeil said of the inning.

McNeil went the distance, allowing 11 runs, six earned.

With Tualatin City up 2-0 in the top of the third, George sent a screaming line drive into right centerfield to tie the game

“It felt really good,” George said, of the hit.

Tualatin City answered back, scoring three runs, all unearned off four errors in the top of the third inning.

Annika McNeil did not lose faith in her team, though.

“I wasn’t really worried about that inning,” McNeil said.

In the bottom of the third, Willow Creek began taking advantage of the Tualatin City pitcher’s inability to find the plate. Willow Creek was patient at the plate and loaded the bases on three consecutive walks. Ally Warren then walked with the bases loaded to make the score 5-3. Sam Kuseh and Elizabeth James did the same, and Willow Creek had pulled even, 5-5.

With Willow Creek trailing 6-5 in the bottom of the fourth, McNeil stepped to the plate with a runner on third base. She ripped a line-drive single past the first baseman and Willow Creek had again evened the score 6-6.

While she was disappointed with the final outcome of the game, McNeil said she was confidentWillow Creek would bounce back.

She predicted that her team would get another chance at Tualatin City later in the week.

“We’ll probably play them either Thursday or Friday for the championship,” McNeil said. “Hopefully, we’ll beat them then.”

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