Tualatin City's eight-run fourth lifts the team past Murrayhill 18-8 at district
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.
'Once we got the lead back, we knew it would be our game,' Tualatin City's M.G. Bywater said. 'They got a lot of good hits, but we came back which was good.'
Tualatin City loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth when Emilee Symonds and Taryn O'Neill walked, and Bywater hit a short nubber down the third-base line that stayed fair. 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 touched home for a 9-8 Tualatin City lead.
An error allowed O'Neill to score and Hannah Schmitz's bases-loaded walk pushed in Gamache. Shelby Burke lined an RBI single into right and a groundout scored another run to make 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,' Murrayhill manager Lars 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.
'We just wanted to get it over with,' Symonds said. 'We're hungry.'
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, who lined a single into left.
Bywater ended the game by beating out an infield single by a step 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. It's fun to watch them play.'
Tualatin City took advantage of four errors and four walks in its six-run first inning to grab the early momentum. O'Neill had the big hit in the frame with a hard liner just in front of the sliding left fielder to score Symonds and Bywater.
Murrayhill, which also includes players from Beaverton Area Little League, got three runs back in the top of the second. Taylor Bland led off with a stand-up double before John smacked a single into right. Augusta 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. Shae 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.
Murrayhill loaded the bases in the fourth on two walks and a hit batter. 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 Shelby Wigelsworth. Shelby Newton followed by ripping a stand-up triple past the right fielder and down the line to plate Herman and Patterson.
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.
'The girls showed some heart,' coach 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.'