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Lady Lions coach takes dive for win

St. Helens finally beats Parkrose; wins two of four during week
by: John Brewington, The Lady Lions’ Danielle Harcourt slides into third in the bottom of the eighth inning against Parkrose, the ball gets loose, coach Jeff Edwards dives out of the way, and the ball goes out of bounds. Harcourt walked home the winning run, ending 17 innings of play with the visitors.

St. Helens softball coach Jeff Edwards took a dive for the team Thursday, ending 17 innings of 'no decision' with Parkrose with a 2-1 win.

The game marked the second meeting of the two clubs. A week earlier they had gone nine innings without a score. In the make-up, St. Helens found a way to score a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie, and then slipped the winner home in anticlimatic fashion.

St. Helens split four games on the week, downing Wilson-ville along with Parkrose, but losing to Century and unbeaten-in-league Glencoe.

In the game with Parkrose, the visitors had scored a run off a St. Helens error and a hit in the third inning. St. Helens was looking at a loss going into the bottom of the seventh when Melissa Ralls pounded out a hit just inside the left field foul line. Kayla VanDolah went in to run for her, and moved to third on passed balls. Ashley Ricker took a ball four that sailed over the catcher's head and VanDolah bolted safely for home to knot the game.

The Lady Lions made three pressure-ridden defensive plays in the top of the eighth and headed to the plate.

Danielle Harcourt drove a ball into center, and then St. Helens pitcher Heather Heimuller was on at first when the first baseman mishandled a low throw. After an out, catcher Tasha Sharp hit a slow roller shallow of third and picked up by the pitcher. As Harcourt started sliding to third, the throw got loose. Edwards, already on his knees motioning for Harcourt to slide, dove out of the way as the ball got away from the shortstop (trying to make the play), and rolled out the gate opening near the Lady Lions' dugout. That sent the winning run home.

'I wasn't really sure what happened,' Edwards said. 'I was just trying to get out of their way. They were ribbing me at Boosters this morning that I tossed it out.'

Pictures of the non-nefarious affair show him clearly diving out of the way. The ball came to rest out of play, and under the foot of this reporter. 'It was one of the most exciting, extra-inning, come-from-behind wins you'll ever want to see,' Edwards said.

The win was well-received by the players who couldn't contain their jubilation after 17 innings of play and the game nearly ending with a loss the inning before.

The win gave St. Helens a 3-1 record in league and put them at 6-1 on the season.

St. Helens 5, Wilsonville 0

The Lady Lions had only a few problems beating Wilsonville on Tuesday afternoon, overcoming an arbitrary strike zone for a 5-0 shutout.

The Lady Lions got on board in the first inning of the contest when Allison Jensen singled and Harcourt drove her home with a triple. St. Helens added another lone run in the third when Harcourt walked, stole second, and Heimuller singled to drive her home.

In the fifth, Ashley Ricker singled, stole second and Harcourt drove her home with a single. St. Helens wrapped up the scoring in the contest with two runs in the top of the seventh. Kali Smith walked, and Ricker followed with a single. Jensen reached base on a fielder's choice that put out Smith, then Harcourt banged out her third hit of the game to send Ricker and Jensen home. She had three RBIs.

Edwards said of the contest: 'Heather (Heimuller) worked through a very one-sided plate umpire. Heather and (catcher) Tasha (Sharp) did a great job of fighting through a shoe-box strike zone. We had the bats taken out of our hands with seven called third strikes at the ankles. Bottom line, this game was a lot more difficult than it should have been for that reason.'

Century 9, St. Helens 3

A bad fifth inning proved costly for St. Helens against a good-hitting Century team on Wednesday. St. Helens was leading the contest 3-0 when Century scored six runs off four hits, two hit batters, a walk, and two errors, costing St. Helens their first loss of the year.

Century added three runs in the seventh for insurance off a triple, an error, a single, a walk, and another single.

The Lady Lions had the early lead in the contest. Harcourt smacked a two-out single and advanced on a passed ball. A single from Heimuller drove her home.

In the bottom of the fourth, Harcourt reached base on an error, and advanced on a play at first. Emily Monroe walked and stole second base. Sharp drove both runners home with a single to left.

'This game was one we let slip away,' Edwards noted. 'It was the first time all year we broke down defensively. Our pitchers had trouble hitting their spots against a good hitting team.'

Edwards started the game with Harcourt pitching, brought in Heimuller in the fourth, then brought Harcourt back in the fifth.

Glencoe 8, St. Helens 0

Glencoe pounded out five runs in the first inning and St. Helens was never able to seriously challenge Glencoe's all-state pitcher, Jordan Brown in a game Friday.

The Lady Lions got their first hint they would have problems when Glencoe scored five runs off five hits in the first inning. A single and a double made it 6-0 in the fourth. Glencoe finished off St. Helens with a lead-off, full-count homer to centerfield in the sixth, and added one more run.

'This was our fourth game in four days and we were playing at Glencoe. A tired team made for a tough evening,' Edwards said.

St. Helens still finds itself very much in the running in the NWOC. The team was to travel to Sherwood on Monday, goes to Parkrose Wednesday, and hosts Hillsboro Friday.

Scores by innings:

St. Helens 2, Parkrose 1

Parkrose 001 000 00-1 3 2

St. Helens 000 000 11-2 5 3

St. Helens 5, Wilsonville 0

St. Helens 101 010 2-5 9 3

Wilsonville 000 000 0-0 3 1

Century 9, St. Helens 3

Century 000 060 3-9 8 1

St. Helens 100 200 0-3 4 3

Glencoe 8, St. Helens 0

St. Helens 000 000 0-0 2 2

Glencoe 500 102 x-8 10 1

Harcourt, Heimuller (1) and Sharp; Brown and Dendinger.

Softball Standings

(Through April 4)

W L

Glencoe 5 0

Century 4 1

St. Helens 3 2

Hillsboro 3 2

Parkrose 2 2

Sherwood 2 3

Liberty 0 4

Wilsonville 0 5