Not a resounding victory, but a NWOC win nonetheless
The St. Helens Lady Lions were able to squeeze in just one softball game during last week's wet weather, but it boosted them into solid possession of fourth place in the league standings.
Going into this week, the Lady Lions were lingering a game out of first place, but last week's postponements on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday left them with six games to play over six days.
Wednesday, St. Helens eased past Wilsonville with a 4-2 win. They were to play a make-up with Rex Putnam on Thursday, and host Liberty on Friday. Rain forestalled those games, and another attempt for a Saturday game with Putnam was also rained out.
That left St. Helens with six games this week: Putnam on Monday; travelling to Milwaukie on Tuesday, at Liberty on Wednesday, Parkrose on Thursday, Sherwood on Friday, and Liberty at St. Helens on Saturday.
'It was a really big win for us,' St. Helens Coach Jeff Edwards said. 'It pretty much clinched fourth and kept us in the race. We had good focus. The umpire had a tight strike zone and in the (latter innings) we started laying off the rise ball. That got us five walks late in the game.'
The Lady Lions led from the beginning. St. Helens controlled the game, but never by enough to relax.
Mariah Mulcahy went the distance on the mound, giving up just four hits, but walking four as well. She struck out six.
St. Helens started the game with a run. Leadoff batter Michelle Sass cranked a double to the left center fence, Brooke Cathers sacrificed her to third, and Mulcahy knocked her home with a single.
'We led the entire game start to finish, but we were never really comfortable,' Edwards noted. 'I like the way we executed the short game.'
St. Helens made it a 2-0 game in the third. Mulcahy reached base on an error with one out and stole second base. She scored on a single by Payton Albertson. The St. Helens first baseman and No. 2 pitcher is hitting .680 in league since the second game of league play. She was one for three on Wednesday, the first time she's only had one hit.
Wilsonville got back within one with a run off a walk, stolen base and a single in the bottom of the third.
It was the sixth inning before St. Helens would add another run. Alyssa Giesbers led off with a triple down the third base line that got by the left fielder. She slid under a tag at third in a close play. Jessica Sanchez followed with a bunt down the third base line and was safe. Giesbers stayed at third and Sanchez later stole second. Giesbers went home on a passed ball.
Wilsonville responded with a run in the bottom of the inning off an error, stolen base, and a base hit.
The Lady Lions added an insurance run in the seventh. Cathers opened with a single, and Mulcahy walked. A hard hit ball by Albertson resulted in Cathers being tagged and Albertson out at first for a double play. Sue Sass then singled to score Mulcahy.
Wilsonville got runners to first and second in the last inning, but a fly to right was caught by Stevie Strawn to end the game.
Edwards was optimistic going into the long week.
'The good thing is we're healthy right now and we have some depth. We'll move some kids around as the week goes on. We had a really good practice (Sunday) and a good turnout. The field looks beautiful right now-hard to imagine how it improved over just a day. We have to play almost half our league games in a week, but we're ready.'
St. Helens 4, Wilsonville 2
St. Helens 101 001 1-4 8 2
Wilsonville 001 001 0-2 4 2
St. Helens-Mariah Mulcahy and Michelle Sass; Wilsonville-Sarah Harms and Megan Bates.
The St. and #8200;Helens Lady Lions lost a heartbreaker to Rex Putnam Monday afternoon, 1-0.
The two teams battled back and forth for six innings with neither team able to push a run across the plate. Putnam got the game's lone run in the top of the seventh with two outs. Putnam hit a long fly to the outfield and it slipped out of the glove of the St. and #8200;Helens player making an effort to reel it in. That put a runner on second base. The next batter beat out a ball deep in the infield and the runner slipped home as the safe call was made.
The Lady Lions had more hits than Putnam in the contest, 4-2, and made a final run to knot the score in the bottom of the last inning when Sue Sass hit a bloop double into shallow right field. The Lady Lions couldn't bring her home.
Mariah Mulcahy went the distance pitching for St. and #8200;Helens, giving up just the two hits. The Lady Lions travel to Liberty Wednesday.