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Pitching, defense not enough for softball team

by: Vern Uyetake, West Linn right fielder Taylor Brooke makes a diving catch in the bottom of the fourth inning of last Friday’s game against Lakeridge.The catch came on a line drive by the Pacers’ Natalie Rose to lead off the inning. West Linn’s defense was solid all afternoon but a two-out RBI single in the second inning was all the offense Lakeridge would need.

The West Linn softball team's offense continues to sputter early in the season but, in fairness, the team has faced some pretty stellar pitching along the way.

On Friday it was Lakeridge's Natalie Rose who kept the Lions at bay. Rose has had an outstanding start to the season and kept her momentum pitching a complete game while giving up only three hits and striking out five batters.

West Linn's Carly Dolder was equally impressive, throwing all seven innings for the Lions and only giving up four hits.

The difference in the game was a two-out single in the bottom of the second which scored the only run of the game.

Defense was the story of the game, however. West Linn right fielder Taylor Brooke had a terrific game in the field. In the bottom of the fourth inning, she made a spectacular diving catch to save a hit and possibly a run since two batters later in the inning knocked singles.

She also made a catch with her back against the fence in the bottom of the fifth inning.

In the top of the sixth, West Linn was robbed with two outs when Lakeridge's centerfielder speared a hard hit line drive.

Brooke was also West Linn's only runner to reach third base in the top of the first inning. She reached base on an error to lead the game off and then stole second and third base. A two-out line ended that threat however.

After that, the Lions only put a runner in scoring position once more. In the top of the fourth, a bunt single and a hit batsman pitch with one out put runners on first and second but the Lions couldn't come up with the big hit to drive in a run.

Dolder was solid all game for West Linn, rarely allowing a hard-hit ball and she was backed by solid defense. Still, it wasn't enough to prevent the Lions from dropping to 0-4 in league.

With the exception of Putnam, no team appears to be particularly dominant in the Three Rivers League so far this season.

West Linn takes on Milwaukie this Friday, a team that has yet to win a league game and, if the Lions get pick up a victory in that outing, they will have a chance to start a streak against an Oregon City team that has surprised a few teams this year.

The Pioneers have narrow victories over Lake Oswego and Clackamas and if the Lions can steal a game it will put them in decent shape through one full rotation of the schedule.

A few clutch hits might drastically change the Lions' fortunes as the team has only scored three runs in four league games.