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Getting in the swing

New-look Southridge is making a successful start to its '07 softball season
by: MILES VANCE, DRILLED — Southridge senior first baseman Erin Guzy gets hit by a first-inning pitch during her team’s 7-4 win over Barlow on Friday afternoon.

BEAVERTON - Revenge is a dish best served cold, and the Southridge softball team was willing to take it that way on Friday afternoon.

The Skyhawks took out Barlow 7-4 at Southridge High School on Friday, earning payback, at least in part, for the Bruins' win over the Hawks' in last spring's state semifinals. Barlow went on to lose to Jesuit in the Class 4A state championship game.

'It's a really good win,' said Southridge senior catcher Krista Kelly, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBIs on a first-inning grand slam. 'We knew we had to come out strong after losing to them in the semifinals. We really wanted to get them back.'

Southridge (3-1) came out with its foot squarely on the accelerator against the Bruins (0-5), forcing across four runs in the first inning and three more in the second, then managing just four more hits and no runs the rest of the way.

'It just shows what we have to work on because we started off strong but didn't score past the (second) inning and gave them a chance to come back,' said Southridge senior first baseman Erin Guzy, who went 2-for-2 at the plate, scored twice and drove in two. 'That's obviously not good and we need to work on that. We need to make sure they stay down.'

'It's dangerous when you jump up 7-0 like that and then they get relaxed and they lose focus,' said Southridge coach Wilbur Charters. 'This was a prime example of when everybody, from the pitcher on down, doesn't make plays, then all of a sudden it's 7-4. We have to be careful and we keep pounding on them about it.'

Still, those first two innings were pretty darned impressive. Megan Rupp reached on a Barlow error to open the bottom of the first, Taylor Marchione followed with a walk and Guzy was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Kelly. Kelly didn't disappoint, taking a Rachel Maag pitch on the outside edge of the plate and launching it over the right field fence for a grand slam and a 4-0 Southridge lead.

'I knew I had a good count and if she laid one up there I was going to drive it because we needed to win the game. It just happened,' Kelly said.

After another hitless at-bat by the Bruins, Southridge tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the second frame. This time, Rupp reached base on a fielder's choice (after a Nicole Frayn single), Marchione doubled to center and Guzy followed with a double to center of her own that scored both runners. Guzy came home later in the inning on a Barlow error for the 7-0 lead.

But the Bruins, who returned three starters from last year's state runner-up, hung around, stopped the bleeding and tried to chip away at Southridge's lead. In the fourth, Kendra Weldon reached base on an error, took second on a wild pitch and scored when Jaydee Baxter doubled to deep left field off Skyhawk pitcher Caitlin Wallace. Kristel Baeckel then followed with a double of her own, this one to center field, to cut the Skyhawk lead to 7-2.

It got a little more interesting in the sixth when Andrea Bailey singled, Baxter followed with a line drive to left field that was dropped, and Baeckel followed with a two-run single to left that made it 7-4. But Wallace made sure things went no further - she bore down for three straight outs and kept her team's lead at 7-4, and duplicated that feat in the seventh, striking out Weldon to end the game.

After the game, Charters said that Wallace (six hits, no walks and three strikeouts) is his team's only option until freshman McKenzie Dalthorp rounds back into shape from the broken foot she suffered during basketball season.

'Once she's healthy, we'll probably go to that (two-pitcher) thing we had a couple years ago, but we don't have that yet,' he said. 'If we had, I'm not sure they would have scored any runs, but until we can get McKenzie back, Caitlin's just got to go. That's what we're going to need.'

In addition to Kelly and Guzy's offensive heroics, Marchione, Frayn, Erica Fitzgerald and Samantha Kellar added one hit each. For Barlow, Baeckel went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and four other players added one hit apiece. After Maag was lifted in the second inning, Kayla Anderson came on and limited the Hawks to one run on four hits, one walk and one hit batter while striking out two.