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Lady Lions win four straight at Medford Tourney


Team thumps all four opponents over spring break; readies for 6A No. 1 Glencoe

Just about everything went St. Helens’ way in their jaunt to Medford over spring break for four tournament games over two days.

The Lady Lions won all four games—their closest game by six runs, scored 16 and 17 runs in two games, and won another by seven runs.

Sophomore pitcher Mariah Mulcahy had two near-perfect games, won all three she pitched, and got to rest from the last one. St. Helens made just one error in the tournament.

“It was a good tournament,” St. Helens coach Jeff Edwards said. “We’re trying to run an up-tempo offense, shorten the field and utilize our speed. It’s a new system we’re implementing and we got to practice it.”by: JOHN BREWINGTON - Throwing well. St. Helens' Mariah Mulcahy dominated her opponents in the three games she pitched in the Medford Tournament this week.

While St. Helens didn’t get to pick their opponents, Edwards said his only regret was that they didn’t get to play some higher ranked teams.

He did get some players back and on the field. His daughter, Karli, returned to play her first game since her freshman year. She sat out last year. Also back was freshman Alyssa Giesbers.

This coming Monday the Lady Lions host top-ranked and 6A state favorite Glencoe. The Crimson Tide boasts Katie Sutherland-Finch, considered by many to be the best pitcher in the state.

The contest should give the Lady Lions a chance to test their short game and put their speedy offense to good use.

St. Helens also has a home game with Forest Grove on Wednesday, then starts league play next Friday at Sherwood.

St. Helens 16, Mazama 1

The Lady Lions opened the tournament against a 4A team that lost to eventual state champion Banks in the quarterfinals last year, but they were not in awe.

The game changed when Stevie Strawn hit a bases-loaded shot down the right field line that was missed by the right fielder and ended with an inside-the-park grand slam.

“That energized us and got us going,” Edwards said.

Mulcahy was spot-on from the pitching rubber. She struck out eight, walked none, and was just a lone fourth-inning hit from a perfect game. The affair lasted just five innings, sparing her arm for the next contest.

The Lady Lions were errorless on defense.

St. Helens pounded out 13 hits. Freshman Taylor Leal was three for four with a double, reached base four times and had three RBIs. Michelle Sass was three for four with two doubles, on base three times, had three RBIs, and two runs. Mulcahy was two for two with two doubles, walked twice, on base four times, and had one RBI. Alyssa Giesbers was two for two. Strawn, Sue Sass, Karli Edwards, and Ashley Giesbers each had one hit.

St. Helens 9, South Eugene 2

Just 40 minutes after dispatching Mazama, the Lady Lions faced 6A South Eugene and it was a close game for two innings.

The Lady Lions got a break in that Mulcahy didn’t throw that many pitches against Mazama and the time between games was short enough to keep her arm from tightening up, Edwards said.

It was a good thing, too. Mulcahy would strike out 11, walk just two, and give up only three hits.

The Lady Lions gave up two runs to South Eugene in the second inning, but answered with two of their own. Leal reached base on an error, Ashley Giesbers bunted and was safe at first. They advanced on a passed ball and sophomore Hailee Fischer singled to send both home.

St. Helens would tack on three runs in bottom of the third and four more in the sixth.

“We powered through the game,” Edwards noted. “I was worried about a let down and we faced a better pitcher.”

The Lady Lions would have nine hits in the contest. Sue Sass was two for three, on base three times, drove in one RBI, and scored twice. Leal was two for four, on base three times, drove in three RBIs, and scored once. Fischer was two for three, on base twice with two RBIs, scored twice, and stole two bases. Michelle Sass, Alyssa Giesbers, and Ashley Giesbers each had one hit.

“It was a good way to start the tournament,” Edwards said. “We went (out to dinner) afterwards, and were staying close to the fields. The umpiring was really good.”

St. Helens 7, Marist 1

The Lady Lions would face their toughest pitching against Marist, the pitcher from the 14U state ASA champion Silver Bullets.

“She was the best pitcher we’ve seen,” Edwards said. “We didn’t touch her in the first inning, although Michelle (Sass) bunted her way on. We saw some weakness in their outfielders so we started bunting. They knew what we were going to do and couldn’t stop it.”

Mulcahy had another good game, striking out 11, walking just one, and giving up two seventh-inning hits to spoil a no-hitter.

The Lady Lions took the lead with three runs in the second, added three more in the fifth, and one for good measure in the seventh. Marist’s only run came in the seventh.

“We shortened up the field, stole bases, and had 7-8 executed bunts,” Edwards said.

Sue Sass was two for four, on base twice, had two RBIs and two steals. Strawn was one for three, on base twice, had an RBI and two steals. Michelle Sass, Leal, and Giesbers each had one hit. Giesbers had two runs and two steals, and Michelle Sass one steal.

“We adapted and did what we had to do,” Edwards added. “We knew it would be the toughest pitcher we faced all week. We identified some things we might be able to attack and got in some practice playing that kind of game. It was good practice for Glencoe.”

St. Helens 17, North Valley 9

St. Helens moved some players to different positions and threw freshman Whitnee Christianson against 4A North Valley.

Edwards not only put Mulcahy at first, but moved catcher Michelle Sass to the outfield, along with Strawn and Ashley Giesbers. Leal put on the catcher’s gear. He wanted to give Mulcahy a break from pitching and it worked out.

“Taylor Leal had two tag outs at home and played a good game. Our girls in the outfield were running down everything,” Edwards said.

Christianson struck out three, gave up 14 hits, and walked just three.

The Lions would pound out 19 hits in the contest. Mulcahy was four for five with three doubles and a triple, four RBIs, scored three times, and had a stolen base. Ashley Giesbers was four for five, had two RBIs, three runs and three steals. Leal was four for five, had two doubles, was on base four times, and had four RBIs, and two runs. Sue Sass was two for four and Strawn had one hit, two RBIs, and two runs. Lone hits were also posted by Alyssa Giesbers, Fischer, and Karli Edwards. Overall the team had nine stolen bases.