Gaston runs its win streak to seven games and ties Nestucca for first place in league

Some softball pitchers break down under an increased workload. Some get sharper with every pitch they throw.

Gaston senior Brielle Matson falls in the latter NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Gaston senior Brielle Matson delivers a pitch during her no-hitter last Tuesday against Portland Christian. Matson struck out 18 batters.

With sophomore Haylie Davis battling illness and some recent arm troubles, Matson has taken over as Gaston’s primary pitcher and has led the Lady Greyhounds to seven straight victories, including a series sweep of Portland Christian last week.

“With Brielle, I think the more she pitches, the better she gets,” said first-year Gaston head coach Ciera Jones. “She’s pitched a lot of innings lately, but to me it’s only strengthening her.”

Matson threw a seven-inning no-hitter against Portland Christian last Tuesday, striking out 18 batters and allowing only two baserunners — one on an error and one on a dropped third strike — in an 8-0 Gaston victory.

“She was absolutely on fire in that game,” Jones said.

Gaston took an early lead with a run in the second inning, and the Hounds busted things open with seven runs in the third. Tayla Kuyl and Cassie Van Dyke each went 2-for-3 to lead the offense.

The teams wrapped up the three-game series on Monday with Gaston posting a pair of mercy rule victories — 11-0 in the first game and 18-1 in the second.

“Everyone kind of got into the action,” Jones said of her team’s offensive explosion. “I was able to bring in my subs and everybody got a chance to play, which was nice.”

Kuyl went 3-for-5 in the opener, while Van Dyke was 2-for-3 and Davis went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Matson and Sophia Zawodny had two hits apiece.

Gaston led 3-0 through the first three innings, then tacked on four more runs in the fourth and a run in the sixth, before ending things with a three-run rally in the seventh inning.

ºThe Lady Hounds jumped all over Portland Christian in the nightcap, scoring five runs in the first inning and adding five more in the second.

Kuyl had three more hits in the victory, and Zawodny also had three singles.

In the two games on Monday, Matson threw a total of 12 innings and allowed only three hits and one walk while striking out 19 batters.

The three wins moved Gaston into a tie with Nestucca for first place in the Northwest League standings. The teams will settle that dispute with three games against each other this week.

“This is a big week for us,” Jones said, adding that she hopes her players can maintain their focus for Saturday’s doubleheader knowing that the Gaston prom is later that night.

“I hope our focus is there. Hopefully we can take care of business on the field and then go have fun.”

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