Southridge seals up third, and Jesuit joins 6A playoffs
by: Miles Vance BAT GIRL — Southridge's Shae Nelson collects a hit during her team's win over Jesuit last week at Southridge High School.

BEAVERTON - Finishing strong.

The Southridge softball team has done just that, winning five of its last six Metro League games to wrap up third place, secure one of the league's three automatic state playoff berths, and roll into the second season with a bunch of momentum.

The Skyhawks finished with two straight wins last week, edging Jesuit 7-6 on May 12 and adding a 2-1 decision over Westview on Friday to finish league play at 10-5 (16-9 overall). Next, Southridge will open the Class 6A state playoffs on May 23 - the Skyhawks' opponent, game time and location have yet to be determined.

'We're really excited. We're just ready to go,' said Southridge sophomore first baseman Mackenzie Spencer, who went 3-for-3, scored twice and knocked in one.

'I'm really excited for the playoffs,' added sophomore shortstop Shae Nelson, who went 2-for-2 with two doubles and knocked in one run. 'It will be really fun. We just have to stay tough for the playoffs.'

Jesuit, meanwhile, bounced back with a 5-3 win over Beaverton on Friday, ended league at 6-9 and sealed up fourth place. The Crusaders (10-15 overall) then beat Gresham 10-0 in a Class 6A Play-In game at Jesuit High School on Tuesday. The Crusaders will open the Class 6A state playoffs on Monday - Jesuit's opponent, game time and location have yet to be set.

'We just hope to gain some momentum … move on and get some wins in the playoffs,' said Jesuit junior third baseman Maddie Marquard, who went 2-for-4 and scored once.

Jesuit grabbed a 2-0 run in the top of the first inning against Southridge, getting a Rachel Illias single, an RBI triple from Marissa Renda, and its second run on a Southridge error.

Southridge answered in the bottom of the frame with two of its own, getting a double from Abby Komin, and with two outs, back-to-back RBI doubles from Spencer and Nelson.

The Skyhawks then pushed ahead 4-2 in the bottom of the second on an Olivia Gonzales double, a run-scoring double by Bailey Kasler, and an RBI fielder's choice.

Jesuit answered in the third to tie the game, getting back-to-back singles from Illias and Renda and bringing them home on Makaela O'Malley's single and an Emily Allen sacrifice. The Crusaders then pushed ahead 6-4 in the fifth when Marquard singled took third on an O'Malley double and scored on a hit from Ali Schulteis. O'Malley then came home when on a hit to right from Hailey Malin.

But Southridge pitcher Cheyenne Mendenhall shut the Crusaders down in their final two at-bats, and the Skyhawks put together a three-run fifth to win the game. Kasler got things started with a single, Komin bunted her to second and she scored on Tori Gentile's hit to center. Spencer followed with an RBI single to center and took second on Jesuit's throw home, then scored the game-winner when Nelson doubled to right.

'We kept our bats going all game and that really helped,' Spencer said. 'That was one of our strong parts, keeping our hitting going all game.'

'I think what we did that really helped us was that every inning, we chipped away,' Nelson agreed. 'It wasn't just one inning that we attacked hard. Every inning, we got runners and tried to bring them around which helped us.'

The Crusaders, meanwhile, were proud of pushing one of the league's best teams to the limit.

We 'came out and scored six runs today, but gave 'em seven,' Marquard said. 'We've just got to keep hitting the ball and play some solid 'D.''

'It's a bummer, but just knowing that we were able to get six runs up there and get hits was good,' Renda added. 'We were hitting it hard.'

Kasler went 2-for-3, scored twice and drove in one, and Komin went 2-for-2 and scored once for Southridge. Illias went 2-for-4 and scored twice for Jesuit, O'Malley was 2-for-4, scored once and knocked in one, Schulteis went 2-for-3 and scored once, and Malin was 2-for-3 with one RBI.

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