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Mulcahy, Sass anchor NW Blaze at nationals

Two St. Helens players return from run at ASA national tourney in Sioux Falls


by: SUBMITTED - MARIAH MULCAHYby: SUBMITTED - MICHELLE SASSIt’s been a pretty good summer for the girls on or soon to be on the St. Helens High varsity softball team.

The players have participated on a number of high-powered teams and have made their mark.

Pitcher Mariah Mulcahy and catcher Michelle Sass just finished playing with the Northwest Blaze 14U team in the 114-team Amateur Softball Association National Tournament in Sioux Falls, Iowa.

Mulcahy pitched in almost all of the team’s eight games in the tournament and Sass caught her. The squad won their first four games, and would finish ninth overall. They split in their pool games, losing 3-0 to Impact Gold of Texas and winning the other 7-2 against Wellington Wild of Florida.Mulcahy allowed just two hits in the first game and one earned run. She struck out eight. The Impact Gold team finished third overall.

In bracket play, the squad downed the Brandon Rage from South Dakota, 18-0, in their first game. Mulcahy shared pitching duties in the game.

The team followed that with a 7-3 win over Sizzle Blue, the Nebraska state champions. Mulcahy pitched all seven innings, giving up nine hits, and just two earned runs. Sass was two for three at the plate in the game.

The team then beat the Katy Cruisers from Texas, 7-3, with Mulcahy throwing five innings, and allowing just one earned run. The team took control of the game in the first two innings with six runs.

The third win brought the team up against Texas Fusion. The game was weather delayed for 24 hours. The Blaze pounded out 11 hits in the 9-0 win. Mulcahy threw five shut-out innings in the contest.

The team then faced Team Arizona (Glendale), the eventual runner-up in the tournament. They scored four runs early on their way to a 12-1 win. The loss dropped the Blaze into the loser’s bracket. Sass had one of the team’s five hits. Team Arizona would lose only to the national champions, Tennessee Fury.

The final game for the Blaze was a loss to Texas Sudden Impact (Houston), 7-1.

Mulcahy, who was named Northwest Oregon Conference Pitcher of the Year, from the St. Helens High team, was pleased with the team’s efforts. “Overall, I’m happy. We played some pretty high teams—one that finished second in the tournament. It was fun and a good experience. This is a really good group of girls. I love them,” she said.

The team arrived in Iowa on July 30 and we’re flying out on Aug. 6. The weather was warm most of the time only cooling a bit over their last two days. Ironically, it cooled there while it got hot in the Northwest.

Michelle's sister, Susannah Sass, has been playing on the 18A Oregon Thunder team this summer. The team is based out of Hillsboro. All are under 16, so they played in the 16A Nationals in Huntington Beach, but didn't place. They have played in tournaments in Las Vegas, Indiana, Colorado, and Seattle, Wash.

Stevie Strawn, a first team all-league outfielder, played for the 16A Oregon Thunder team. They have played in some big local tournaments and took a trip to Spokane. They recently played in the 16A Triple Crown Fastpitch World Series in Reno, going 3-6. She played in the outfield most of the time and also some infield.

Alyssa Giesbers, second baseman for St. Helens, played for the Newberg Nitro. They played in local tournaments, the state tournament, and qualified for Western Nationals in Utah. Giesbers was honorable mention as a freshman.

There were six younger players, three sophomores and two incoming freshmen, on the 14A Wolfpack team, a combined St. Helens-Rainier team. Those players included Hailee Fischer, Courtney Anderson, Elizabeth Ziegler, Ashley Giesbers, Taylor Leal, Kayla Finch, and a late pick-up, Marissa Sanchez.

St. Helens High Coach Jeff Edwards, NWOC Coach of the Year, was very pleased so many from his team were playing summer ball. He noted that he had a very young sqaud this season and it would still be pretty young next year. His daughter, Karli Edwards, was an all-league player and the leading hitter as a freshman but sat out last season after an injury in basketball. She was just cleared for play. St. Helens may very well be the league favorite this coming spring.