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TC takes Murrayhill out 18-8

by: ROLAND SIMMONS, DOWN AND DIRTY Tualatin City's Shelby Burke tags out Murray Hill's Shelby Newton as she attempts to steal second base during Tualatin City's 18-8 victory  Monday night at Alpenrose.

PORTLAND - The momentum had shifted.

Murrayhill appeared to have gained the edge after rallying for the lead with a hitting frenzy in the fourth inning.

Just as quickly, an upbeat Tualatin City squad snatched it back. And Tualatin City didn't stop hammering away until it had won its Monday opener in the Little League Majors District 4 softball tournament at Alpenrose 18-8 by the mercy rule.

But for one half inning, things sure looked to be tilting in Murrayhill's favor. Tualatin City scored six runs in the first and led 7-3 before Murrayhill rallied for five runs in the fourth for an 8-7 lead.

It was short-lived, though, as Tualatin City answered with eight runs in the bottom of the inning, then closed out the game with a three-run fifth.

'The girls showed some heart,' Murrayhill manager Lars Nelson said. 'In Little League, that's one of the things you want to see more than anything. To not give up and come back is almost as good as a win.'

Murrayhill, a young team that includes players from Beaverton Area Little League, loaded the bases in the fourth inning when Shelby Wigelsworth was hit by a pitch and Augusta Herman and Shae Nelson drew walks. After the free passes, Murrayhill earned its runs with some hard knocks from the meat of its order.

Ryan Patterson smacked a liner off the center fielder's glove to score Wigelsworth. Nelson got caught off second and was tagged for the second out, but that did nothing to slow Murrayhill. Shelby Newton followed by ripping a stand-up triple past the right fielder and down the line to plate Herman and Patterson.

Taylor Bland tied the game at 7-7 when she crushed a bomb that banged halfway up the fence in dead center for a triple. Brooke Schwab's hard liner into left filed scored Bland for an 8-7 lead.

'We hit the ball hard,' coach Nelson said. 'We just had a couple tough breaks.'

Many came in the bottom of the inning when Tualatin City regained the lead with an eight-run burst. Emilee Symonds and Taryn O'Neill walked, while M.G. Bywater hit a short nubber down the third-base line that stayed fair to load the bases. Morgan Windhorn and Kayla Gamache each hit grounders to Murrayhill's shortstop, who fired home too late to get the lead runner as Symonds and Bywater each scored for a 9-8 Tualatin City lead.

An error allowed O'Neill to score and Hannah Schmitz's bases-loaded walk pushed home Gamache. Shelby Burke lined a RBI single into right and a groundout made it 13-8. Bywater collected her second hit of the inning with a hard grounder into left field that plated Schmitz. O'Neill capped the scoring barrage when she ripped a liner into left to score Burke and give Tualatin City a 15-8 lead.

'That's tough,' coach Nelson said. 'To go up by one run and then they came back. That's a pretty good team that TC team. They hit the ball pretty well.'

Tualatin City pitcher Symonds shut down Murrayhill in the fifth. Tualatin City huddled together and broke by yelling 'three more' then promptly finished off the game with a two-out rally to earn the 10-run mercy rule victory.

With the bases loaded, Murrayhill right fielder Megan John raced in for a shoestring catch for the second out. But Symonds' grounder up the middle slipped just past Murrayhill's shortstop and squirted into the outfield to score Aubrey Brown and Sarah Bixel.

Bywater ended the game by beating out an infield single on a grounder to short that allowed Schmitz to score.

'They do a good job pumping each other up,' Tualatin City manager Bob Brown said. 'They're a good group of kids and they support each other.'

Tualatin City took advantage of four errors and four walks in its six-run first inning.

Murrayhill got three runs back in the top of the second. Bland led off with a stand-up double before John smacked a single into right. Herman's two-out walk loaded the bases for Kylie Wallace, who hit a pop fly that dropped in shallow left-center for a two-run single. Nelson looped a single into left to score Herman sliding in ahead of the cutoff throw to slice Tualatin City's lead in half at 6-3.