The District 4 champ goes unbeaten in pool play at the state tournament
PORTLAND - Teams from across the state tried, but there was no slowing down the Beaverton Area softball team in pool play at the 9- and 10-year old Little League state softball tournament at Alpenrose Dairy.
Beaverton used stellar pitching and aggressive baserunning to earn its pool's No. 1 seed into Wednesday's semifinal game with a trio of convincing victories. The team concluded pool play with a 14-4 victory Tuesday over previously undefeated Scappoosse.
Scappoosse kept things close early, tying the game at 2-2 in the second before Beaverton broke loose with multiple runs in each of the next four innings.
'We were pretty nervous,' Cheyenne Mendenhall said. 'We knew this would be a hard game, but that if we played hard we'd beat them.'
Beaverton did just that, taking chances on the bases that consistently paid off. The team began to pull away with two runs in each the third and fourth innings despite not recording a hit.
Megan Wadsworth gave Beaverton a 3-2 lead when she reached on a wild throw to first, continued to second where another errant throw ended up in the outfield as Wadsworth motored around the bases to score.
A hit batter and two walks loaded the bases with Bailey Wadsworth racing home on a wild pitch for a 4-2 lead.
Katie Newton drew a walk to lead off the fourth when Megan Wadsworth continued her daredevil baserunning tactics. She reached when the shortstop's throw to first went off her elbow. She took a split-second to grab her arm before continuing to second. Scappoose made the same mistake of trying to throw her out, and the ball ended up in the outfield again, allowing Wadsworth to race around third and slide into the plate for a 6-2 lead.
'I never fault a kid for being too aggressive,' Beaverton manager Clem Wood said. 'It puts the other team on the defensive and forces them to make plays.'
Beaverton added four more runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings. Mendenhall smacked a single up the middle and Megan Wadsworth drove her in with a hard liner into left field that also allowed Kate Allen to score. Wadsworth came home on an error that allowed Trisha Nystrom to reach. Nystrom moved to third on a pair of wild pitches and scored when Kiana Wood came through with a two-out single up the middle for a 10-2 lead.
Jazmine Payne walked to lead off the sixth and scored when Mendenhall ripped a double into the left-center field gap. Allen followed with a single past the diving shortstop to plate Mendenhall.
Rachel Thompson lined a single that bounced off the right fielder's glove and to the fence as Thompson raced around the bases for a 14-2 lead.
Three different Beaverton pitchers took turns holding down the fort through three innings. Mendenhall came on to start the fourth and threw two shutout innings before allowing two runs (one earned) in the sixth. She struck out six batters, including all three batters in the fifth.
'Coach said he would put me in, but I thought for maybe one or two innings,' said Mendenhall, who had her longest outing of the postseason.
The victory didn't come without hardship. Center fielder and pitcher Kayla Shearer broke her leg sliding into third base after advancing on a wild pitch in the fourth inning.
'That was tough,' coach Wood said. 'But the kids came out and responded really well. There was no let up.'
Beaverton began tournament play with a 17-0 rout of the Medford Nationals on Sunday. Wood, Thompson, Shearer and Mendenhall each pitched one shutout inning, combining for 11 strikeouts while allowed just two hits. Eight of the nine spots in the batting order produced runs with Thompson, Newton and Megan Wadsworth each scoring three times. Thompson had three hits, including a triple. Wadsworth had a triple, a double and three RBIs.
Beaverton improved to 2-0 with an 11-0 thumping of Hood River on Monday. The same four pitchers combined to allow four hits with no walks and five strikeouts. The defense came up big as well with third baseman Newton and left fielder Allen each making spectacular plays in the first. A pair of defensive gems at third base by Megan Wadsworth preserved the shutout in the fourth.