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Wildcats survive to win their second straight

Westview survives a late Aloha rally to win 6-5 and get its playoff hopes back on track
by: JOHN LARIVIERE, METRO BATTLE — Westview pitcher Ashley Garcia (above) winds up to deliver a pitch against Aloha on Friday.

BEAVERTON - Westview gained the win.

Aloha gained some confidence.

And both softball teams left Tualatin Hills recreation complex feeling a little bit better about their fortunes after the Wildcats beat the Warriors 6-5 on Friday. Westview evened its Metro League mark at .500 with the win, but had to hold off a late rally by Aloha to get it done.

Trailing 6-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Warriors plated four runs before Westview got out of the inning to preserve the victory. And with Monday's 6-2 win over Beaverton, the Wildcats have moved past a three-game slide and are now third in the Metro at 4-3, two games ahead of Aloha and Southridge.

'I was a little nervous, but I knew we'd pull together and get it done,' said Westview pitcher Ashley Garcia. 'We're ready to win now. I think we'll get it together and come back strong.'

The Warriors did that in the seventh to make Westview sweat out Monday's victory in the chilly and wet conditions. The Wildcats got three insurance runs in the top of the seventh and needed every one of them after Aloha got four runs on two hits, a Wildcat error, a walk, a wild pitch and two passed balls.

'This was probably our best proving game,' said Aloha senior Chantel Worley. 'We finally clicked today and played as a team.'

Never more so than in the seventh, which started when Worley lined a single into right. Lucy Leggett followed with a hard grounder up the middle for another single and a throwing error on Brittany Sanchez's bunt loaded the bases.

Worley scored on a passed ball and, after Ashley Casebeer walked, Leggett raced home on a wild pitch to make it 6-3. Sanchez scored on Stephanie Lascelles' groundout for the first out, but Casebeer advanced to third on a passed ball and then scored on Kylie Delenikos' groundout to draw Aloha within a run before Garcia ended the game with a strikeout.

The late rally exemplified the Warriors' improved attitude under second-year coach Laura Clark. A 3-1 win over Southridge on Monday furthered Aloha's progression.

'Our goal was to stay uplifted and keep driving and we did,' said Worley. 'Down 6-1, we knew we could do it and fought back. (Coach) has created a new foundation. There's definite potential.'

Westview has a tradition of success, but found the going tough at times this year, especially during a three-game skid before Friday.

'We realized we hit rock bottom,' Garcia said. 'There's nowhere to go but up from here. We're motivated and want it.'

It showed Friday. After four scoreless innings, the Wildcats got three runs in the fifth without hitting a ball out of the infield.

With one out, senior Kellie Studer, who had three of Westview's six hits, hit a high chopper to third for an infield single. Nicole Chombeau followed with a well-placed bunt and reached basewhen the second baseman covering first dropped the throw.

Both runners moved up on a wild pitch before Jenna Krogh chopped an infield single to third that scored pinch runner Kayla Kovalik and also Chombeau when the throw to first was off-target.

Krogh then stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Brooke Cole's infield single for a 3-0 lead.

Garcia struck out three in the game and held the Warriors to two hits through six innings before giving up a run in the sixth off two errors and a groundout that plated Lascelles to make it 3-1.

Westview got some insurance in the seventh and needed every bit of it. Studer led off with a single up the middle and Ashtyn Saueressig followed with a base hit through the hole on the left side. Krogh's sacrifice bunt moved Studer to third and pinch runner Chelsea Eytel to second. Both scored shortly later on an error for a 5-1 Westview lead.

Cole also crossed home after stealing second and scoring on Garcia's triple over the Aloha center fielder's head to make it 6-1.

Aloha rallied, but Westview held on and now takes on the three teams that beat them - facing Southridge yesterday (after the Valley Times' press deadline), Jesuit on Friday and Sunset on Monday. Aloha played Jesuit yesterday and faces Sunset on Friday and Beaverton on Monday.