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Top-ranked Glencoe takes care of business in a league showdown with No. 4 Tualatin

The freight train that is the Glencoe softball team continues to gain momentum.

Playing in one of its toughest tests of the 2013 Pacific Conference season, Glencoe got its offense untracked early by scoring two runs in the first inning and two more in the third en route to a 4-1 victory at home against Tualatin.

“They played good defense. They didn’t make any mistakes defensively, and neither did we,” Glencoe coach Jacy Jukkala said. “It was a fun game to watch because it was a well-played game, from both perspectives.”by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Glencoe shortstop Macy Besuyen (1) and outfielder Hannah Rossman converge on a pop up during last Friday's game against No. 4 Tualatin.

The victory, coupled with a 13-2 rout of Tigard on Monday, put the No. 1 Crimson Tide (16-1 overall, 7-0 Pacific) in the driver’s seat for the league crown and knocked No. 4 Tualatin (16-3, 6-1) back a game in the standings.

“Tualatin is definitely one of the toughest competitors in the state, and I was really proud of our girls,” senior Katie Sutherland-Finch said. “We came out very focused, and so did (Tualatin). They did a great job putting the ball in play, and I was really just trying to hit my spots and have them hit to my players.

“And our girls did a great job on defense, and then we also did very well at the plate.”

In what should come as no surprise, Sutherland-Finch played a significant role in the win for the Tide. With two outs in the top of the first, the California-bound pitcher blasted a two-run home run off Timberwolves pitcher Emily Sorem, also driving in Courtney Clayton, who had reached base on a single.

Sutherland-Finch’s long ball was her fifth in as many games, dating back to a 5-0 win against Century on April 10.

“We talked a lot before the season started about how she really needed to improve this year at the plate,” Jukkala said. “She really took that seriously, and she took it to heart. She’s been seeing a hitting coach almost every weekend and working really hard, so it’s nice to see it pay off.”

After Tualatin caused relatively little trouble in its plate appearances over the next two innings, Glencoe padded its lead in the third.

Macy Besuyen reached base on an infield single and moved to second on Morgan Brown’s sacrifice bunt. Then Clayton smacked a double to right field to bring in Besuyen and make it 3-0. Sutherland-Finch capped Glencoe’s scoring with a single to right field to drive in Clayton.

“You just have to have the mentality, especially when runners are on, that you have to do whatever you can to get them in or to help your team, no matter what that is,” said Clayton, who went 3-for-3 and scored two runs in the contest.

From there, the Tide were able to hold off Tualatin in part with another solid outing in the pitcher’s circle by Sutherland-Finch, and in part with solid defense. Sutherland-Finch struck out 11, gave up four hits and two walks, and hit one batter in seven innings.

And her defense came up big for her in the top of the fifth, when the momentum was creeping in Tualatin’s favor. With two on and one out, the Timberwolves scored their only run on a Caitlyn Sung double to right field, which set up one of the most significant plays in the game.

In the next at-bat, Apling gunned down Tanna Baggenstos — who was caught off of third base — with an on-the-money throw to Clayton. Sutherland-Finch then struck out Beth Fanger swinging to squelch Tualatin’s chance to further cut into the lead.

“The momentum had kind of shifted in their direction, so I think that was a good momentum changer for us,” Jukkala said. “That was huge for Kamryn, and it’s great to see this little freshman behind the plate who wasn’t expecting to be back there step up and make a big play at a big moment.”

After that, Glencoe threatened in the sixth inning, but neither squad was able to score again. Powered by Clayton’s three hits and Sutherland-Finch’s two, the Tide were able to knock Sorem for seven hits.

And that big win combined with Monday’s victory against Tigard — which concluded the first half of conference play — the Tide carried a 13-game winning streak into Wednesday’s contest at Hilhi (after press deadline). Glencoe has not lost since a 2-1 setback to South Salem on March 25 in Medford.

Next up, the team is scheduled to entertain Century today before traveling to Forest Grove on Monday. Both games have 5 p.m. start times.

As for the rematch against the Timberwolves, that contest is slated for May 7 at Tualatin.

“I think this is going to be a great matchup our second time around as well,” Sutherland-Finch said. “Any time we play Tualatin, it’s either way. Either way, it’s one or two plays. That’s just how it always is.”

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