The Sherwood softball team downs Wilsonville for its third straight win
SHERWOOD - Coming off an offensive outburst, the Sherwood softball team proved it could win a nail-biter just the same.
Playing the fourth of five games in five days, the Bowmen beat Wilsonville 1-0 last Thursday at Sherwood High School for its third straight victory to move into sole possession of fourth place in the Northwest Oregon Conference.
It might have been a little more stressful than desired, but the consistently improving Bowmen were happy to be winning again after enduring a difficult stretch.
'Every win is really important,' said senior Brooke Davis, who scored the game's lone run in the fourth inning. 'We know we have to bring it every day. We're a young team, but it's working out.'
'Everybody is learning what each other can do and getting more confident,' said sophomore pitcher Hannah Muller, who threw five shutout innings against Wilsonville.
With the five-game week, Muller got her first start in the circle Thursday and didn't disappoint. She peppered the outside edge to great effect, striking out four without a walk and allowing just two hits.
'The umpire was calling (the outside) a lot so I worked that corner,' Muller said. 'My curve was working a lot better than usual.'
Davis gave Muller and the Bowmen a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. She hit a liner past the right fielder for a one-out triple and scored shortly later when she bolted home on a passed ball.
'It was a slow roller, so I knew it wouldn't pop off the fence,' said Davis of the passed ball. 'I went for it and it worked out.'
The Wildcats weren't so fortunate. Wilsonville put the tying run on third with one or fewer outs in each of the final three innings but couldn't capitalize.
Chelsey Parham collected Wilsonville's second hit off Muller with one out in the fifth, driving a triple into the right-centerfield gap. But Muller held her there, fanning the next two batters with high heat to escape.
'I'm real proud of her,' said Sherwood coach Dave Durfee of Muller. 'She's a battler. A bulldog on the mound. She doesn't want to give the ball to Brooke and Brooke doesn't want to give it up.'
But Muller did to start the sixth when Davis relieved her and also got in a jam. Davis struck out the first batter she faced, but the third-strike pitch got past the catcher allowing Sarah Bates to reach. McKenna Welch followed with a single into right, sending Bates to second and both moved up a base on a passed ball.
Sherwood's defense came to the rescue. Shortstop Jacquelyn Walck fielded a grounder, looked Bates back at third and fired to first baseman Melissa Peck for the out. Bates broke for home on the throw and Peck gunned her down by a few steps with catcher Ashley Scott slapping on the tag to complete the double play.
Davis struck out the next batter to end the inning and strand Welch on third, but found herself in trouble again in the seventh. With one out, Lacey Parham singled into center field, went to second on an error and stole third as Chelsey Parham advanced to second.
Both stayed right there as Davis buckled down to strike out the final two batters to end the game.
'It wasn't that bad,' Davis said. 'Everyone's been playing well on defense. I have confidence in them.'
Davis had two of Sherwood's six hits, while Peck, Michelle Oenning, Scott and Mooney each collected one - Scott's a double.
The Bowmen did plenty more damage the previous day, blasting Parkrose 16-0 on Wednesday, April 16, to back Davis' perfect game. Sherwood collected 18 hits including home runs by Davis, who struck out nine, and Walck.
The Bowmen lost 4-1 to Glencoe on Friday, but retained fourth in the NWOC with a 6-6 record - one game ahead of St. Helens. The recent strong stretch marks a solid turnaround by a young Sherwood team that suffered a setback when senior shortstop Alyssa Troccoli was hit by a pitch and broke her arm in a spring break game.
'We've had to deal with a lot,' Durfee said. 'We gave some games away early, but the kids hung in there and are starting to play some pretty good ball.'
Sherwood's game with Century on Monday was rained out. The Bowmen were to take on St. Helens yesterday with results not available as of the Times' press deadline. Sherwood hosts Wilsonville on Friday, plays at Liberty on Monday and is home against Hillsboro on Wednesday - all 5 p.m. games.