Team moves up in standings with wins over 6A West Linn and Gresham
Energized by some talented freshmen, the 5A St. Helens Lady Lions are showing a lot of tenacity thus far this season, refusing to lose.
Wet weather kept St. Helens from playing late in the week over spring break, but they kept their unbeaten string intact last Tuesday with two wins in the North Clackamas Tournament at the Hoodview complex.
St. Helens faced a strong 6A West Linn team on Tuesday morning, taking control early and then bouncing back after a West Linn grad slam homer put them in front.
St. Helens got on the scoreboard in the contest with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Michelle Sass reached first on a dropped third strike. That brought up Brooke Cathers. Coach Jeff Edwards had just moved her to the No. 2 slot in the line-up because of her bunting acumen. She didn't bunt, but bounced a full-count pitch off the outfield fence for a two-run homer.
West Linn pulled within one with a single, fielder's choice, and another single in the second inning.
Undaunted, St. Helens scored two more runs in the third. Cathers started things with a walk and then Mariah Mulcahy reached base on an error. Sue Sass followed with a triple down the right-field line to score two more runs.
Everything seemed to be going St. Helens' way, but in the top of the fifth a walk, an error, and an infield single loaded the bases. The West Linn pitcher then stepped to the plate and drilled out a grand slam homer.
'That would take the wind out of most teams,' Edwards said. 'I told the girls that average teams can't come back, but they just said, 'Yeah, yeah let's do this.'
St. Helens would load the bases in the sixth, but didn't get a close call at first.
The Lady Lions were still down by a run going into the bottom of the seventh.
'Michelle Sass laid down a bunt and beat it out. Cathers sacrificed her to second. Mulcahy then hit a ball deep between short and third. The shortstop looked back at Sass, and Mulcahy beat out the throw. Sass took off for third and was safe. Mulcahy moved to second on the throw to third. Sue Sass would follow with a walk.
'That brought up Abbie Hanson,' Edwards said. 'They had struck her out twice. She fouled off one pitch and then hit a frozen rope, one-bouncer to the left field fence.'
Two runs would score and the game was over.
'It was as exciting a game that I've been involved with back to our wins over Lake Oswego,' the coach added.
St. Helens would pound out eight hits in five innings. Kayla Beeler was two for three hitting, while Michelle Sass, Cathers, Mulcahy, Sue Sass, Alyssa Giesbers and Hanson each had one hit.
Mulcahy went the distance on the mound, giving up just five hits, one walk, and striking out nine. At that point, she had pitched all of St. Helens first four games.
West Linn would go on to beat Hood River later in the day, and St. Helens would win a five-inning game with Gresham.
Edwards said he looked long and hard at the weather conditions and decided to not pitch Mulcahy in their fourth game of the tournament. He brought in Sue Sass, who had not pitched in two years. She did a credible job, Edwards added, giving up just three hits, walking six and no strikes-outs.
'She just kept the ball in play and let the defense do the work,' he added.
St. Helens pushed across 10 runs in the first four innings of the game.
Michelle Sass was two for two with a single and a double, on base four times, scored three times, and had one RBI. Mulcahy was 2-4 with a single, a double and two RBIs. Miranda Hamilton was one for one, Beeler 1-2, and Stevie Strawn 1-2 with a double. After five games, the Lady Lions are hitting .372 as a team. Mulcahy, who started the season with a 4-4 day, is still hitting .667.
The Lady Lions host Sandy in their first league game on Friday.
Score by innings:
St. Helens 6, West Linn 5
West Linn 010 040 0-5 5 1
St. Helens 202 000 2-6 8 1
Caroline MacAusland and Kelsey Oleson; Mariah Mulcahy and Michelle Sass.
St. Helens 10, Gresham 3
St. Helens 323 20-10 9 1
Gresham 001 02-3 3 0
Sue Sass and Michelle Sass; E. Rose and Hamswick.