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Aloha comes through in the clutch, wins 1-0

The Warriors score once in the fifth inning to beat Scappoose 1-0 on Monday
by: MILES VANCE, CRANK IT UP — Aloha freshman Serenil Sierra winds up to throw a pitch during her team’s 1-0 win over Scappoose on Monday at Aloha High School.

ALOHA - Sometimes it's about hitting up and down the lineup.

Sometimes, it's about the spectacular plays that score style points and make highlight reels.

And some days, it's just about surviving and winning.

Monday was one of those 'survive and win' days for the Aloha softball team, and the Warriors (3-4) did just that, pitching well, fielding well and scratching out one fifth-inning run to beat Scappoose 1-0 in frosty temperatures at Aloha High School.

'It was definitely nerve-wracking,' senior second baseman Lucy Leggett said of the victory, her team's second in seven days over the Indians.

'We're a team, and even though we weren't playing our best, we knew we could still get the win, get the run in, get the job done.'

'It was a good learning experience. That's what preseason is for,' said Aloha coach Laura Clark.

One of the things Clark learned Monday was freshman pitcher Serenil Sierra can play at the varsity level. In here first varsity start for the Warriors, Sierra shut down the Indians (3-4) with a one-hit, no-walk, 13-strikeout gem.

'I just tried to stay focused. I got my mind clear,' said Sierra, who allowed just a second-inning single to Scappoose's Katie Smith. 'My pitches each work at different times, but today it was the rise.'

'She did amazing,' Leggett said of Sierra. 'And she just swung up from JVs so she rocked it.'

The Warriors had a couple great scoring opportunities in the first and fourth innings but came up empty each time. In the bottom of the first, junior Ashley Casebeer led off with a double to right-center field and took third on a Stephanie Lascelles bunt, but was stranded there when Smith got Kylie Delenikos on a grounder to first base and Chantel Worley on a liner to second to end the inning.

In the fourth, Delenikos led off with a single up the middle and Worley joined her on base when Smith couldn't field her bunt. But the Warriors short-circuited again, with Smith (six hits, two walks, six strikeouts) getting out Brittany Sanchez, Kyla Wood and Leggett in order.

The Warriors' lone run came in the bottom of the fifth when Sierra led off with a single through the Scappoose first baseman's legs, Stephanie Lascelles singled up the middle with one out and Makenzie Delenikos singled to right to load the bases.

After Kylie Delenikos popped out to third base for the second out, Makenzie Delenikos got caught way off first base, but when the Indians tried to pick her off to end the inning, they threw the ball away and Sierra came home with the game's only run.

'I saw Makenzie - she was right in between first and second - and I saw that everyone else was just distracted by it, so I looked and watched and I saw the ball get overthrown so I just went for it,' Sierra said.

'It was a little different, a little whacky, but that's OK. We got it,' Leggett said.

Scappoose's only scoring threat came in the second inning when Smith singled, pinch runner Rebecca Krupsky took second one out later when Sierra dropped Katie Cook's bunt, and the runners moved to third and second on a wild pitch.

But next batter Leslie Hancock grounded hard to Leggett at second base; she fielded the ball cleanly and fired home to Makenzie Delenikos who applied the tag to the sliding Krupsky to keep what was then a scoreless tie alive.

'That was a great play under a lot of pressure,' Clark said of Leggett's play. 'I was definitely impressed with her today.'

Six different Aloha players had one hit each against the Indians, also including singles by Lascelles, Kylie Delenikos and Sanchez.

In upcoming games, Aloha hosts Forest Grove at 4:30 p.m. Friday, plays at Westview in its Metro League opener at 5 p.m. Monday, and hosts Southridge at 5 p.m. Wednesday.