Despite only mustering one hit last Thursday in a 1-0 loss to West Linn, the Lakeridge softball team still had the opportunity to pull off its second league victory of the year. Instead, some misfortune and an impressive pitching performance led to a tough defeat.
West Linn's Jessica Houck took the mound for the Lions and ended up throwing a gem. The senior hurler does not have an overpowering fastball but her off-speed pitches kept the Pacers off-balance all afternoon.
Lakeridge's lone hit came from its first batter of the game. After Natalie Rose completed a perfect first inning on the mound for the Pacers, Mackenzie Griffin came to the plate and beat out an infield single.
Alex Scott followed with a sacrifice bunt and Griffin tried to take third base on the play but was tagged out in the process. Lakeridge wouldn't threaten to score again until the fourth inning.
Meanwhile, Rose was equally stellar on the mound and didn't yield a hit through three innings. However, in the top of the third inning, a walk, sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch moved West Linn's Morgan Joscelyn to third base.
Britt May came to the plate and hit a ball through the infield but she was thrown out by a step at first base, keeping the game scoreless.
In the bottom of the fourth, Lakeridge ran into some bad luck. Scott reached base on an error and was sacrificed to second by Mel Walsworth.
Chelsea Canlas belted a ball toward the gap in right-centerfield. West Linn's outfielders collided but Joscelyn came up with the catch on a play that saved a run.
The Lions finally broke the drought in the top of the fifth inning. Rhiana Russell led off with a single and, with one out, Sachie Hopkins reached on a bunt. Susan Schrank followed with a bunt and wasn't tagged, which loaded the bases with only one out.
A wild pitch scored Russell for the only run of the game but Rose worked out of trouble by recording a strikeout and then coaxing a groundout, ending the inning.
Lakeridge threatened to tie the game or perhaps take the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Lexi Graybeal drew a walk to put runners on first and second base with no outs but Houck was able to bear down and get the next three outs, preserving the slim lead.
The Pacers didn't threaten in the bottom of the seventh but it was a solid effort and fundamentally sound game for a young team that is only improving.
Next up for Lakeridge is this Friday's game against Putnam.