by: DAN BROOD - PLAY AT THE PLATE -- Tualatin City catcher Ella Hillier (right) looks to grab the ball as Central's Gabrielle Shackelford slides home in Thursday's Little League World Series contest.PORTLAND — It wasn't exactly the kind of start the Tualatin City Little League Majors (ages 11-12) softball team was hoping for at the Little League Softball World Series.

But, that's OK, the Tualatin City team says.

That opening game is now done and out of the way, and the TC squad — now knowing more what World Series play is all about — is all set to make some noise.

The Tualatin City team, which also includes players from Newberg Little League, will be looking to bounce back strong after it fell 12-1 to hard-hitting Elyria (Ohio) East Little League, the Central regional champion, in a World Series pool play opener played today (Thursday) at Alpenrose Stadium.

“We got this one out of our system,” said Maddie DeVerna, who scored TC's only run in the contest. “We'll be ready for the next one.”

“I'm not stressed. I'm not bummed,” Tualatin City manager Joey Hall said. “That's a good team we played, but our girls went up there hacking. I think tomorrow we'll come back strong.”by: DAN BROOD - DEFENSIVE -- Tualatin City pitcher Lily Marshall gets ready to make a throw to first base after fielding a grounder in Thursday's Little League World Series game.

In today's World Series opener, the Central team took a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when April Howser hit a leadoff double and then scored on a groundout by Kaeli Evans.

But Tualatin City, which is representing Oregon District 4, answered back with a run of its own in the top of the second inning.

DeVerna led off the frame with a single to right field. DeVerna then moved to second base on a wild pitch and, with two outs in the inning, she advanced to third on another wild pitch.

Kendra Gooding then smacked a single to center, driving in DeVerna to tie up the contest at 1-1.

“I was surprised that I hit it that well,” Gooding said with a smile. “That felt really good.”

I was excited,” DeVerna said. “When she it it, I said 'I'm going home now.'”

Central regained the lead in the bottom of the second inning, scoring three runs — two coming in on a single by Alexis Reinhardt — to go up 4-1.

by: DAN BROOD - NO YOU DON'T -- Tualatin City first baseman Lindsay Stadick (left) is about to throw out Central's Maegan Phares after fielding a bunt in Thursday's Little League World Series game.In the top of the third, Tualatin City got a two-out single by Ella Hillier. She stole second base and then she stole third base on a close play at the bag.

“I'm glad the umpire saw that I was in there,” Hillier said.

But Central pitcher Faith Hamilton got an inning-ending strikeout to get out of the jam.

Central then broke the game open in the bottom of the inning, scoring eight runs in the frame to push the margin to 12-1. Rybecca Kubisen had the big hit of the inning with a double that smacked off the fence in left field on the fly.

Tualatin City, despite the imposing deficit, continued to battle.

TC got singles from both Lindsay Stadick and Savannah Braun in the top of the fourth inning, but the team wasn't able to score in the frame, leaving the Central team with the 12-1 victory.

“I just really wanted to win,” Hillier said. “Or do better than we did.”

“I was excited, but I was also nervous,” DeVerna said. “After they got all of those runs, I got nervous.”

“I got mad,” Gooding added.

“I wish we played the whole game like we did the first two innings,” Hillier said. “I think we lost focus.”

by: DAN BROOD - NICE CATCH -- Tualatin City shortstop Camille Hall (left) grabs the ball as Central's Gabrielle Shackelford slides to second on a stolen base attempt in Thursday's Little League World Series game.Tualatin City, as a team, had five hits in the contest. DeVerna, Gooding, Hillier, Stadick and Braun had one hit apiece. Hillier also had a pair of stolen bases.

“We had some great timely hitting,” Hall said. “The girls played hard and didn't get down. That was good.”

Central had 13 hits in the game. Kubisen went 3 for 3 with two doubles and two runs scored for the Ohio squad.

Tualatin City will be back in action Friday when it faces Southeast regional champion McLean Little League, from McLean, Va., in a pool play game starting at 7 p.m. at Alpenrose Stadium.

For a complete story and more photos from this game, as well as from Tualatin City's other World Series games, see the Aug. 15 issue of the Tigard/Tualatin Times.

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