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Rivalry games go Lakeridges way

by: Vern Uyetake, Lakeridge’s Chelsea Canlas puts a tag on Lake Oswego’s Molly Pyle  during the first of a pair of Pacer victories. Below, Lake Oswego pitcher Taylor Hemzacek prepares to fire a ball toward the plate.

With a pair of victories over its cross-town rival, Lakeridge leapfrogged Lake Oswego in the Three Rivers League softball standings.

On Monday the Pacers won in dramatic fashion, scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 4-3 walk-off victory.

Lake Oswego got on the board early, scoring a run in the first inning. Molly Pyle scored on Julia Klitzke's RBI single.

Klitzke has caught fire for the Lakers recently and is the team's second-leading hitter.

Lakeridge came back to knot the score in the bottom of the third when Hanna Steger was plated by Mackenzie Griffin.

Both pitchers kept the opposing line-up off-balance for much of the night. Lake Oswego had a few chances to break the game open but Natalie Rose seemed to save her best stuff for when it was most important.

'Natalie has something she goes back and finds. She's a tough kid,' Pacer coach Gene Chamberlain said.

Lake Oswego's Taylor Hemzacek was equally impressive and, in the top of the sixth, she scored the go-ahead run after reaching base on an error.

Back-to-back singles scored Hemzacek and Klitzke to give the Lakers a small cushion.

'Taylor's pitching phenomenally right now. She's just not getting the results she probably deserves,' Laker coach Don Hunt said.

Then, in the bottom of the seventh, Taylor Ramsey led off with a solid single and pinch runner Sam Evans moved to second on Melonie Walsworth's ground ball.

Shortstop Chelsea Canlas followed with a hard-hit triple and she later beat a play at the plate on Zoe Teton's ground ball. Teton advanced to second base on the play and Steger then came through with a base hit to centerfield that clinched the victory for the Pacers.

'It was great to see Hanna hit the ball like that. She's so fast we normally try to bunt with her but we let her hit away and she took advantage of it,' Chamberlain said.

The teams also met April 9 and Lakeridge's offense prevailed in a 7-2 victory.

The wins moved the Pacers to 4-4 in league but only one game separates fourth and sixth place in the Three Rivers League.

Chamberlain likes what he is seeing out of his team recently but knows there is still plenty of room for improvement.

'We're getting better with every game. We're not quite where we want to be yet but we're close,' Chamberlain said.

Lakeridge has an important game against West Linn on Friday and will take on Milwaukie, a team currently winless in league on Monday.

Meanwhile, Lake Oswego is working through a tough stretch having lost four of five games.

However, three of those four losses were by one run.

The Lakers are getting strong pitching from Hemzacek and are putting plenty of runners on base but a lack of clutch hits has done them in during recent games.

'It's tough. The girls are really playing well. I couldn't be more proud of them. We're just a couple hits and fielded balls away from maybe being undefeated in league. But we'll catch on,' Hunt said.

In an earlier game against Clackamas Lake Oswego loaded the bases twice with no outs and failed to score. However, with upcoming games against Oregon City on Friday and West Linn on Wednesday, the Lakers can quickly turn their fortunes around.