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LADY LIONS WIN TWO, DROP ONE

St. Helens tops Sherwood and Parkrose, but loses to Sandy
by: John Brewington, ACE PITCHER—St. Helens Mariah Mulcahy contemplates her next pitch during a recent game. Mulcahy has been a big part of the Lady Lions' success this season.

It was a big week for the St. Helens Lady Lions in Northwest Oregon Conference softball action and while they dropped a game out of first they came out of the week in pretty good shape.

St. Helens started the week Tuesday with an eight-inning win over Parkrose, and then beat Sherwood the next day, a team they hadn't beaten in five years. Their big Thursday meeting at Liberty was postponed again, this time until May 9. Friday, the Lady Lions had another crucial game with Sandy, but spotted them five runs and finished with a 6-3 loss.

With two league losses, both to Sandy, St. Helens fell a game out of the four-way tie for first, but while the wet weather has been troublesome their spirits remain undampened.

'The girls talked about not being ready (for Sandy),' St. Helens Coach Jeff Edwards said. 'They are saying all the right things and mentally we're in the right place, in the right frame of mind. The girls are taking ownership of the team. We're going to be okay.'

The NWOC is a real dogfight this season. Four teams had just one loss going into the week and four were all within a game of each other by week's end. Rain postponed some games-Sandy and Liberty, St. Helens and Liberty.

This week is just as tough. Crucial games include: The Sandy at Liberty make-up in Wilsonville on Monday; the Rex Putnam at St. Helens game Tuesday; St. Helens at Wilsonville Wednesday; and Liberty at St. Helens on Friday.

St. Helens 11, Parkrose 8 (8)

The Lady Lions were coasting along with a 7-1 lead in the late going against Parkrose, but gave up six runs in the sixth inning to knot the score.

St. Helens Coach Jeff Edwards said Parkrose pounded out six hits, including two doubles, and had a walk to earn the runs. Only an on-deck batter picking up an errant ball kept Parkrose from going in front.

Each team got a run in the seventh, sending the game into an extra inning.

In the top of the third, Michelle Sass led off with a single, but barely scrambled back on a pop fly. Mariah Mulcahy followed with a single, and Payton Albertson singled to send Sass home. Mulcahy would tag and score on a shallow fly to right by Sue Sass. Albertson scored on a single by Alyssa Giesbers.

Albertson, pitching in relief of Mulcahy, shut down Parkrose in the bottom of the frame.

A highlight of the game was a long homer (on an open field) by Mulcahy.

'It must have gone 250 feet in the air,' Edwards said. 'She was rounding third by the time the outfielder got to the ball.'

Albertson went four for five at the plate with three singles and a double, reached base four times and had five RBIs. At the end the week she was 16 of 22 in league action for a .727 average. She didn't start play this season until after the first game of league. Michelle Sass was 2-4, Mulcahy was 3-4 with four RBIs, and three runs scored, and Giesbers was 2-5 with two RBIs.

Scoring:

St. Helens 11, Parkrose 8 (8)

St. Helens 140 200 13-11 14 1

Parkrose 000 106 10-8 9 0

St. Helens-Mariah Mulcahy, Payton Albertson (6) and Michelle Sass; Parkrose-J. Luckenbaush and S. Webb.

St. Helens 7, Sherwood 1

Team fortunes ebb and flow, but St. Helens hadn't been able to find an answer for Sherwood in the last five years. Wednesday that changed.

The Lady Lions scored five runs in the first two innings and cruised home in a 7-1 win. St. Helens remains very much in the NWOC race, while with six losses, Sherwood has no chance to win the league title.

Mulcahy went the distance pitching for the Lady Lions, striking out 10, giving up just two hits, and no walks.

Offensively: Sue Sass was 3-4 with two doubles and an RBI; Michelle Sass was 2-2, on bases four times and scored twice; Albertson was 2-4 with an RBI; and Giesbers was 2-4.

The Lady Lions scored three in the first. Michelle Sass walked, moved to second on a Brooke Cathers sacrifice bunt, and scored when Mulcahy doubled. Albertson singled Mulcahy home, advanced on a passed ball and scored on a single by Sue Sass.

In the next inning, Michelle Sass singled, Cathers followed with a single, and an overthrow on a play at first allowed both to score.

Scoring:

St. Helens 7, Sherwood 1

St. Helens 320 011 0-7 11 2

Sherwood 010 000 0-1 2 1

St. Helens-Mariah Mulcahy and Michelle Sass; Sherwood-Adry Sietz, Jordyn Funk (4) and Jolee Musselman.

Sandy 6, St. Helens 3

The Lady Lions gave up five runs to Sandy in the first inning, and then outplayed them the rest of the game, only to lose 6-3.

Three St. Helens errors and two mental mistakes, plus two hits and a walk allowed Sandy to surge in front in the contest.

St. Helens would wake up after the first; giving up just five more hits, and one run for the next six innings.

'We left 11 base runners, most of them in the first four innings,' Edwards noted. 'After that there was a downpour. That shut down our momentum. We were coming back.'

St. Helens got their first run in the third. Cathers and Mulcahy walked. Albertson then singled to load the bases. Cathers was out at home on a fielder's choice, but a play at first allowed Mulcahy to score.

Stevie Strawn and Michelle Sass singled in the fourth. Cathers walked to load the bases. Mulcahy and Albertson each singled to score a run.

Edwards said the team is still in the hunt for the league title. 'Most of the (top) teams have a little tougher schedule in the second half than we have. We can take control of the league but we've got to come to work, and scratch and claw our way.'

Scoring:

Sandy 6, St. Helens 3

St. Helens 001 200 0-3 8 3

Sandy 500 010 x-6 7 2

St. Helens-Mariah Mulcahy and Michelle Sass; Sandy-Taylor Copher, Sammie Byron and Rachel Rutledge.