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IMPRESSIVE DEBUT

Freshman Mariah Mulcahy hurls 3-hitter, hits for the cycle in first varsity game
by: John Brewington GREAT START—St. Helens’ Mariah Mulcahy had a good first outing from the pitching rubber and also dazzled visiting Cleveland with her hitting on Friday.

Career days don't usually come in your first varsity outing, but freshman softball player Mariah Mulcahy had a very special day in her first appearance as a Lady Lions on Friday.

Mulcahy threw a three-hitter, 11-1 win from the pitching rubber and that would have been more than enough for most young players. However, it was her batting that really stood out. She tagged a two-run homer over the new right field fence in her first at-bat, pounded a triple to the centerfield fence her next time out, and would add a single and a double to hit for the cycle. She scored four times and knocked in five RBIs in the five-inning contest.

There was a nagging question about the double portion of the cycle-Mulcahy advanced on an errant throw-but St. Helens coach Jeff Edwards was inclined to let the book stand as it is.

Coach Edwards was more focused on her pitching, a critical element in fastpitch softball.

'She went deep in the count more than I thought she would have,' Edwards said. 'But she had only one walk and I felt better about that. My gut feeling was that it was not her best game (pitching).

'I see great things in her future. I don't think we've seen her best pitching yet. She was very, very nervous before the game. She's 14 years old, it was her first varsity game, and there were a lot of nerves.'

Edwards was just happy to get the team on the field. It was their first game of the season, coming two weeks after the first contest was scheduled. The field looked great, the coach noted, particularly considering it had snow on it the day before.

Mulcahy's opening varsity efforts at least equaled those of some other storied St. Helens softball players like Danielle Harcourt, but Edwards noted those girls played without a fence so there wasn't a true measurement.

While Mulcahy had four hits, others on the team also contributed to a strong batting performance. Sue Sass was two for four with a two-run homer and was on base three times and scored twice. Freshman sister Michelle Sass was just one for three but made base four times and scored twice. Abbie Hanson was two for three and made base three times. Courtney Anderson was one for two with an RBI and a score. Miranda Hamilton was one for four and had the hit that invoked the 'mercy rule' and ended the game.

'We had four freshmen on the field three of the five innings,' Edwards noted. 'Their energy pumped up our line-up. They are going to push the seniors when we do get them back. They know they're going to have to work for it.'

St. Helens has several upperclassmen out with injuries and for other reasons. They should all return within the next two weeks.

Friday's game went St. Helens way, only marred by some defensive errors by the Lady Lions. Those errors are probably more a result of line-up changes and not having been on the field very often over the last month.

Mulcahy's home run drove in Michelle Sass and gave St. Helens a 2-0 lead after one inning. An error and a play at first allowed Cleveland to score their only run of the contest in the top of the second.

St. Helens added two more runs in the bottom of the third and three more in the fourth. The fourth inning scoring included a triple by Michelle Sass, a single by Mulcahy to score her and the homer by Sue Sass. A single by Alyssa Giesbers, a single by Michelle Sass, a double by Mulcahy, and the single by Hamilton drove in the final run.

Edwards noted that Cleveland, a perennial PIL champion, was having something of a down year. The Warriors had lost games to Lincoln (12-1) and Century (8-1) in previous outings.

St. Helens was at the Clackamas Tournament Monday and Tuesday. They are then off until April 3 when they host North Salem. They host Sandy in their first league game on April 6.

Score by innings:

St. Helens 11, Cleveland 1 (5)

Cleveland 020 00-1 3 2

St. Helens 202 34-11 11 4

Laura Lesowske, Emily Rommel (4) and Sierra Cavanaugh; Mariah Mulcahy and Michelle Sass.