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Tualatin City starts off strong

Softball: TC jumps out quick on its way to getting a win over Forest Grove at district
by: DAN BROOD POWER PITCHER — Tualatin City’s Camryn Robbins gets ready to fire a pitch to the plate during the team’s 5-2 win over Forest Grove in district play on Monday.

PORTLAND - A strong start.

A strong finish.

And a key tournament victory to show for it.

The Tualatin City Little League Majors (ages 11-12) all-star softball team got off to a quick lead and then finished off a 5-2 win over Forest Grove in a District 4 tournament pool play game played Monday at Alpenrose Dairy.

'It went pretty OK at the beginning,' Tualatin City's Larissa Tashchuk said after the game.

'And, at the end, we got it together,' Rachel Dixon added. 'We pounded the ball.'

Forest Grove fell to 0-2 in pool play games at that point with the setback. Tualatin City improved to 2-1 in pool play games with the victory.

'It's going good,' Tualatin City manager Ken Caron said. 'This has been a growing experience. The girls are learning what's it's like to play at an elevated level.'

Tualatin City got off to a strong start to Monday's contest, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first inning.

Dixon drew a one-out walk to get things started for Tualatin City. She then stole second base and third base. Dixon then scored when Forest Grove committed a throwing error following a grounder hit by Sammi Caron.

Caron, who stole second base, scored later in the inning on a bunt single by Epic Gourde to give Tualatin City its early 2-0 advantage.

Tualatin City got an infield single by Kelsey Downing in the second inning, consecutive singles by Camryn Robbins, Caron and Gourde in the third inning and a single by Rachel Still in the fourth, but the team couldn't push any runs across in any of those innings.

But, with the way Robbins was pitching, that didn't seem to matter.

Robbins, a hard-throwing right-hander, limited Forest Grove to just one hit - a two-out infield single by Olivia Duyck in the bottom of the fourth - over the first four frames of the contest. She also struck out nine batters in that span, including eight in a row.

'It was OK,' Robbins said of her pitching performance. 'It was pretty good.'

Tualatin City was still holding onto its 2-0 lead going into the top of the fifth inning, but was able to add onto its advantage in the frame.

Dixon tripled to center field to lead off the top of the fifth. Robbins followed with a double to the fence in left-center field, driving in Dixon to make the score 3-0.

Robbins then scored on a groundout by Caron to up the margin to 4-0.

But Forest Grove came fighting back in its half of the frame.

With Robbins now playing at first base, Forest Grove got things going with a one-out infield single by Katie Ragsdale. Jessie Wren and Bailey Perdew each drew walks to load the bases. Tualatin City then couldn't handle a grounder by Crowther, with Ragsdale scoring on the play to cut the lead to 4-1.

Wise was then hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, brining home Wren to trim the margin to 4-2.

Robbins then moved back to the pitcher's circle. She put down the next two Forest Grove batters in order to prevent any further damage.

Tualatin City then answered back with a run in the top of the sixth inning.

Tashchuk drew a two-out walk, stole second base, moved to third on an error and then scored on an infield single to up the Tualatin City lead to 5-2.

After Forest Grove got a leadoff single to start the bottom of the sixth inning, Robbins struck out the next three batters to wrap up Tualatin City's 5-2 victory.

'It was a total team effort,' Ken Caron said. 'We did a good job hitting and we were aggressive on the bases.'

And then there was Robbins.

In five and two-thirds innings pitched, she gave up no runs on two hits while striking out 12.

'Camryn fires the ball,' Ken Caron said.

As a team, Tualatin City had nine base hits in the victory. Gourde, Robbins and Dixon each had two hits while Downing, Sammi Caron and Still added one hit apiece.

Tualatin City opened tournament play July 13 with a 13-2 win over Willow Creek. Last Thursday, TC fell 11-2 to Murrayhill.

Tualatin City was scheduled to face Raleigh Hills in a pool play finale on Wednesday. Results of that game weren't available when The Times went to press.

The tournament semifinals games will be played today (Thursday) at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. On Friday, the tourney third-place game will be played at 5 p.m. with the title tilt slated for 7:30 p.m.

'If we pull it together, I think we could win it all,' Tashchuk said.

'We just need to focus more,' Dixon added.

The winner of the District 4 Tournament advances to play in the Little League Softball World Series, which starts Aug. 11 at Alpenrose Dairy.

Other members of the Tualatin City team include Alexandria Herrera and Grace Marshall. Joey Hall and Craig Robbins are the coaches.