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Lady Lions come from behind in opener against Rainier

St. Helens rallies from a 4-0 deficit for 7-4 win
by: John Brewington, Sophomore Danielle Harcourt started the season on the pitcher's plate for Rainier. Heather Heimuller relieved her in the second inning.

The St. Helens Lady Lions took on old foe Rainier in their season opener and came roaring back from a four-run deficit to post a 7-4 victory Tuesday.

As the rains started to come down, the Lady Lions fell behind Rainier early and it didn't look like a comeback was in the works.

Coach Jeff Edwards brought in Heather Heimuller to pitch and she stopped the bleeding for the last five innings.

'Heather gave us five innings of four-hit ball,' Edwards said. 'She spotted the ball and hit the corners.'

Rainier was 23-5 last season and is a favorite for a state title in the 3A ranks this year. Their first pitcher shut down St. Helens for three innings, and the second was throwing in the mid-60 mph range, Edwards said.

A single and a triple gave Rainier a lone run in the first inning. They banged out three singles and a walk in the second for three more runs.

The four runs stood until the bottom of the fifth, when the Lady Lions went on a spree.

Amanda Richey was walked and Ashley Ricker was hit by a pitch to start things. Allison Jensen then walked and the bases were loaded. Danielle Harcourt almost cleared the bases with a boomer down the left field line, but the ball just hooked short. She followed with a single between short and third. Richey bolted for home and Ricker hurdled the shortstop to score. Jensen made it to third and would later tag and score on a fly to the outfield by Heimuller.

The Lady Lions were down by just one going into the bottom of the sixth. Ashley Runion walked to start and Ricker reached base on a bloop single. After an out, Harcourt pounded out another base hit for her third RBI of the night. Catcher Tasha Sharp followed with a hit to score one more, and a double by Melissa Ralls sent two more home.

'It was a great comeback for our kids. Their one pitcher was throwing hard -- she's one of the fastest I've seen. Rainier is a good team. We played the short game and the kids are excited. It was a good start to the season,' Edwards said.

St. Helens was to host Hood River Valley on Wednesday, and they travel to Astoria Friday. Parkrose is in St. Helens on Monday.

Score by innings:

Rainier 130 000 0-4 9 1

St. Helens 000 034 x-7 9 1

H. Crape, R. Hanks (4), Crape (6) and Z. Walker; Danielle Harcourt, Heather Heimuller (2) and Tasha Sharp.