Beaverton threatens in the sixth inning before Jesuit pulls away to win
by: MILES VANCE, METRO ACTION – Beaverton shortstop Maddie Evans (above) tries to corral the ball as Jesuit’s Sara Moore steals second in the second inning of her team’s 6-2 Monday win over the Beavers.

BEAVERTON - There will be no cakewalks this year.

Jesuit's top-ranked softball team found that out in Monday's Metro League opener against Beaverton - a team that finished last in league in 2007.

Oh sure, the Crusaders won easily enough - they walked away with a 6-2 victory at Jesuit High School, but it wasn't quite that easy. In the sixth inning, Jesuit's lead was just 4-2 and the Beavers had the tying run at second base.

'It just shows that every team in the Metro is going to be a tough team this year and we really have to bring everything we have every game and just take one game at a time,' said Jesuit senior Lauren Macey, who came off the bench to drive in two runs on Monday.

'Every team's going to come to play us - we've got a big bull's eye on our backs … but it's kind of fun,' said Jesuit coach Jim Speciale.

The Beavers, meanwhile, left encouraged about their ability to play with the Metro League's best teams and hopeful about their chances to get in the playoff race this season.

'We have a lot of team spirit and we support each other a lot,' said Beaverton senior Hannah McMahon, who had her team's lone hit, a fourth-inning double. 'I think we'll do good things.'

The Crusaders took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Samantha Nelson singled and later scored on Shikara Lowe's single to center field. Jesuit made it 2-0 in the second inning when Paige Hall singled, pinch runner Sara Moore stole second, took third on an out and scored when Brittany Wolf grounded to second.

After a scoreless third inning, Hall opened the fourth with a laser beam solo homer to center field, and Jesuit scored again to make it 4-0 when Kelsey Vandebergh singled to center field and later scored when Macy - called to the plate with a 2-2 count when Nelson was hobbled by a foul ball - also singled to center.

The Beavers finally got things going - albeit with a bit of help from Jesuit - in the top of the sixth. Megen Ickler and McMahon both reached base with walks to open the frame, and after one out, pinch runner Grace Coburn scored when Junell couldn't handle Megan Spooner's grounder to shortstop. Next, the Beavers loaded the bases on a Kayla Lauro bunt, and McMahon came home on a wild pitch with Hannah Johnson at the plate.

At that point, the Beavers had runners at second and third with two outs, but Hall - who allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out 13 - got Johnson to ground to first base to keep the score at 4-2.

Suitably awakened, the Crusaders struck back for two more runs in their half of the sixth, with Wolf singling and scoring on Macey's groundout, and Robin Gawlista singling and scoring on VandeBergh's triple to right field.

'You've got to stay positive and get through it and we did,' Hall said. 'I think that (Beaverton's two runs) pumped us up a little bit.'

'I thought it showed our senior experience that the girls just kind of shrugged it off, got two more runs and went up 6-2,' Speciale said.

Hall, who was perfect for the game's first three innings, then shut down the Beavers 1-2-3 - including two more strikeouts - to end the game in the seventh.

'I felt really good today. I was a little sore but I felt like I had pop on my ball and I felt really good,' she said.

Mary Claire Brenner, Lowe, Hall and Wolf had two hits each for the Crusaders.

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