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TC comes back, gets third place

The team bounces back from a semifinal loss and grabs third at District 4
by: JAIME VALDEZ, WHIP IT — Tualatin City Little League Majors pitcher M.G. Bywater releases a pitch during her team’s victory over Murrayhill n the third-place game of the District 4 tournament at Alpenrose last Friday.

PORTLAND - Tualatin City expected to be in the championship game.

But that did nothing to deter the team from an putting forth a championship-style effort in the third place game of the District 4 Majors softball tournament at Alpenrose Dairy. Tualatin City beat Murrayhill 9-0 Friday for some consolation after losing to Lake Oswego 8-7 in Thursday's semifinal game.

'We had a lot of tears last night,' Tualatin City pitcher M.G. Bywater said Friday. 'Then we figured we should just be happy to be here, so let's play our best today.'

That they did as Bywater struck out five and walked just one in her complete-game effort. And she was backed by an offense that struck early and often to quickly put the semifinal setback behind them.

'Last night we were kind of down,' first baseman Taryn O'Neill said. 'Tonight's game we were pumped and ready to win.'

Murrayhill lost to eventual champion Cedar Mill 8-3 in the semifinals. That set up a rematch with Tualatin City, which won their four-team pool with a 3-0 record, including an 18-8 mercy-rule win over Murrayhill.

In that game, Murrayhill, which also includes players from Beaverton Area Little League, overcame an early deficit to take a brief lead before Tualatin City rallied for the victory.

Murrayhill cut Tualatin City's offensive output in half in their rematch, but couldn't come up with the clutch hit to break through. Murrayhill had six hits against Bywater but left seven runners stranded, including five in scoring position.

Tualatin City had no such trouble, scoring three times in the top of the first inning without a hit. Two walks and a fielder's choice loaded the bases. An error scored the game's first run and Morgan Windhorn followed by drawing a walk to plate Emilee Symonds for a 2-0 lead.

Tualatin City got its third run when Kayla Gamache hit a grounder to the second baseman, who fired home late as Bywater scored.

'I asked the girls to jump on them early and put last night's game behind us,' manager Bob Brown said. 'We had a bad inning, were playing catch-up all game and didn't quite get there. We came out to make it up.'

Tualatin City added two runs in the second on Symonds' RBI-double to left that plated Hannah Schmitz, who reached on a bunt single. Symonds later scored when O'Neill singleD into right.

Murraryhill put runners in scoring position in the final four innings, but could not score. Kylie Wallace singled past shortstop in the third inning and eventually advanced to third base. But TC third baseman Schmitz made a basket catch in foul territory to end the inning.

Tualatin City got two more runs in each the fourth and fifth innings. Bywater hit a hard grounder that went under the left fielder's glove as she hustled to third. O'Neill followed with an RBI single to left. Gamache's base hit and Tau Rodondi's walk loaded the bases before O'Neill scored on an error when Shelby Burke's liner went off the shortstop's glove.

In the fifth, Bywater scored on a passed ball and Gamache followed by ripping an RBI single into the gap for a 9-0 lead.

Murrayhill's Augusta Herman led off the fifth with a single. She eventually moved to third, but Tualatin City second baseman Windhorn ate up a hard bouncer for the third out.

Windhorn also preserved the shutout in the final inning. With two out and two on, Juana Lopez hit a hard chopper to Windhorn's left, but she scooped up the ball and fired to first for the game's final out.