Lady Lions in thick of NWOC softball race
St. Helens posts wins over Putnam, Parkrose and Sherwood
The St. Helens Lady Lions emerged from the last week of play with three wins against the bottom half of the Northwest Oregon Conference softball league and remain in contention for a top-three finish.
The Lady Lions downed Rex Putnam, Parkrose, and Sherwood to keep themselves just a game out of second place in the league, and two games behind league-leading Sandy.
There is a strong divide between the top half of the eight-team league and the bottom half. The top four teams are ranked in the top 15 in the state, and the bottom half rankings range from 22-26. The top 24-ranked teams make the play-in round at state.
St. Helens started their latest win skein with a narrow victory over Rex Putnam, 2-0 on Friday. The game was played in the pouring rain at the Hood View Park complex in Clackamas.
The Lady Lions Mariah Mulcahy limited the Kingsmen to just two hits, four walks, and struck out eight. Putnam conceded they couldnt hit off Mulcahy and at one point laid down 12 bunts in a row.
We snapped them all up, St. Helens coach Jeff Edwards said. They tried to play small ball and tighten things up.
It did tighten things up, but didnt produce any runs for them.
The Lady Lions scored one run in the top of the third when Ashley Giesbers reached base on an error, moved to second on a single by Taylor Leal, and scored on a single by Stevie Strawn. Kali Moore, a junior, homered in the next inning for the last run.
I want to compliment Kali, Edwards said. She came into the season needing the most work and shes worked very hard. It was pretty cool to see her succeed.
Edwards was a little perplexed by the teams lack of overall offense.
We only had five hits against a mediocre pitcher. We should be 10-running some of these teams, he said.
Tuesday night Edwards challenged his squad heading to bat in the bottom of the third.
Look at the scoreboard, he said of the 1-0 lead. Thats not good. We need to do better than that.
The team responded with five runs. They got the first run when Michelle Sass led off with a walk, stole second and scored on a single by sister, Sue Sass.
Ashley Giesbers beat out a bunt single to start the inning, went to steal second and moved on to third on the overthrow to second. Mulcahy followed with a walk, and then Leal sacrificed Giesbers home. Sue Sass came up and pounded out a double to left center to send two more across the plate. A single by Alyssa Giesbers sent her home. Moore was hit by a pitch, and Strawn doubled to send two more runs in.
St. Helens added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth, but couldnt get the last run that would have ended the game there. Courtney Anderson, pinch hitting, started that inning with a triple. Alyssa Giesbers walked and Anderson went home on a play at first. Strawn was then safe on a bunt that allowed Giesbers to score. Ashley Giesbers singled to score the third run. Two runners were still on base when the last out was made.
Ashley Giesbers was two for three and three for three on steals. Sue Sass was two for three with a double and three RBIs. Overall St. Helens drew seven walks, had seven hits, and was on base 15 times.
Mulcahy had 14 strike-outs, walked just one and gave up just three hits.
The biggest game for the Lady Lions was their 4-1 convincing victory over Sherwood on Wednesday afternoon.
We won a game, Edwards said. It wasnt too pretty. We left too many people on base and did some foolish stuff. In practice we work on defensive situations, but weve got to practice our situational bunting. Ive identified three things were really going to work on.
St. Helens was first on board in the game with two runs in the first. Michelle Sass reached base on an error and Ashley Giesbers was safe on an error off her bunt. That allowed Sass to go to third and Giesbers would steal second. Sue Sass then singled to score one. Taylor Leal hit into a play at first for a sacrifice to allow Giesbers to go home. She was safe on the throw.
In the second inning, Karlie Edwards walked and then Stevie Strawn was safe on a bunt and an error. Michelle Sass singled to send Edwards home.
In the sixth inning, Moore had her second hit of the game, the only Lady Lion to do so. She stole second and Ashley Giesbers walked. Mulcahy hit into a fielders choice that got past third base and allowed Moore to score.
Sherwoods only run came in the fourth off a single, and then a two-out double by their big first baseman.
Mulcahy limited Sherwood to four hits, one walk, and struck out 12 batters.
The Lady Lions are now into the hardest part of the second half. They go to Liberty on Friday, host Sandy on Tuesday, and go to Wilsonville on Wednesday.