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Wolves hope to benefit from setback to Sunset

Softball: Tualatin will look to use the loss to the Apollos as motivation
by: JAIME VALDEZ, TO THE PLATE — Tualatin senior Suzanna Espinoza gets ready to fire in a pitch the Wolves’ game last week.

TUALATIN - Somewhere down the road, the Tualatin softball team would like nothing more than to look back at its game against Sunset and enjoy a good laugh at what was.

March 19 was not that day.

The Apollos blew open a close contest with a 10-run seventh inning then finished off their no-hitter in an 11-0 win over the Timberwolves at Tualatin High.

Rather then dwell on the loss, the Wolves hope it might be the spark the team needs to get going.

'We're using this as motivation,' shortstop Jordan Skinner said. 'Stuff like this happens. We'll use it to make us stronger. We don't want to lose like this again. It's not fun.'

The seventh inning was for Sunset, which scored its 10 runs on four hits, three walks, three hit batsmen and four Tualatin errors.

'That last inning was not good,' left fielder Meaghan Cichoke said. 'We made a couple errors and it went downhill from there.'

The Wolves simply could not get anything going against Apollo starting pitcher Amanda Najdek, who struck out three with no hits or walks in five innings.

'She was throwing inside and we weren't going with the pitch,' Cichoke said. 'This was totally different than how we've been playing.'

Anna Miller relieved Najdek to start the sixth and completed Sunset's no-hitter, which didn't come without some threats.

In the first inning, Tualatin No. 3 hitter Amelia Bywater's sharp liner into shallow right appeared to have bounced in front of the fielder's glove but was ruled a catch.

In the fourth, senior Emily Tietje drove a ball deep down the right field line that was caught on the run by Sunset's Kristina Trindle. In the final inning, Bywater hit a hard liner, but right at the left fielder. Senior Janelle Cromie followed with a blast to right field that Trindle snared over her head.

'We were hitting it hard, just right at people,' Cichoke said. 'If we could've strung some hits together at the right time, it would've worked better.'

'We just have to find the holes,' Skinner said. 'When everything connects, watch out.'

Through six innings, Sunset didn't manage much against Tualatin starter Suzanna Espinoza, who threw a complete game. The Apollos took a 1-0 lead in the second when Britanny Boyd singled, went to second on a passed ball and scored on Julia Johnson's double into the gap.

The Wolves tried to reply in the bottom of the inning after Cromie reached on a hard grounder off the shortstop's glove. Cromie beat the throw to second on Tietje's sacrifice bunt, giving Tualatin runners on first and second with no outs. A fly out and two groundouts kept the Wolves off the board.

Tualatin's next baserunner came in the sixth when Gina Rawls led off with a walk but was thrown out trying to steal second. The Apollos went on to have their huge seventh inning and seal Tualatin's fate.

Tualatin lost to Westview 4-2 last Thursday, beat David Douglas 2-1 on Friday and lost to Barlow 6-4 later Friday to take a 3-4 record into Spring Break.