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BIG GAMES, BIG WINS

Lady Lions top Rex Putnam, Wilsonville in NWOC softball action
by: John Brewington NOT HOME—St. Helens’ Payton Albertson couldn’t get past Wilsonville’s Megan Bates. The Lady Lions would score three runs in the third and that was enough for their second NWOC win in three outings.

It's still very early in the Northwest Oregon Confer-ence softball race, but the St. Helens Lady Lions put themselves in the upper division last week with wins over two of the league's top teams.

St. Helens would crank out four runs in the ninth inning against returning league champion Rex Putnam and hold on for a 4-2 win on Tuesday. Friday, they got a two-run homer in the third from Mariah Mulcahy and posted a 3-1 win over visiting Wilsonville.

'The game against Rex Putnam was a classic pitcher's dual,' St. Helens coach Jeff Edwards said. 'They have two all-league first team pitchers.'

The game went scoreless for eight innings. St. Helens pitcher, freshman Mariah Mulcahy gave up six hits, and struck out 13 batters in the game. She walked just four. Putnam's Missy Bottinelli also struck out 13 batters and gave up eight hits to St. Helens.

'The girls were excited,' Edwards said. 'It was a big win for us. That was fun. We'd made some line-up changes and we had just one error in the contest.'

The game came down to the ninth inning. St. Helens had seemingly scored a run in the fifth when Alyssa Giesbers was hit by a pitch and advanced, but a play at first was eventually ruled an out and the run not allowed.

In the ninth, the visiting Lions started off with a single from Kayla Beeler, a grounder right down the first-base line. Payton Albertson followed with a double, her third hit of the game. Giesbers then singled to score the first run of the contest, leaving runners at first and third. An error put Michelle Sass on first and scored Albertson. An error at second put on Brooke Cathers, and Giesbers scored. Mariah Mulcahy hit into a fielder's choice and Sass scored.

Putnam didn't go quietly in the bottom of the frame, scoring two runs off three singles and a fielder's choice, but the Lady Lions closed down the scoring after that for the win.

St. Helens 3, Wilsonville 1

Friday, the Lady Lions ran their league record to 2-1 with a win over Wilsonville.

The game started with Wilsonville scoring the first run. It would also be their last. The run came off a single, a stolen base, and a single.

St. Helens would get all their runs in the bottom of the third inning. Alyssa Giesbers led off the inning with a line drive double into center. Stevie Strawn then sacrificed her to third base. Michelle Sass followed with a bloop single and Giesbers went home. Brooke Cathers would reach base on a fielder's choice that put out Sass. Pitcher Mariah Mulcahy came to the plate. She was nearly sent to first when the ball hit the knob on the bottom of the bat. Back at the plate she hit a line-drive over the centerfield fence for a two-run homer.

'She proceeded to define the term frozen rope,' St. Helens coach Jeff Edwards said. 'The ball went straight to dead center and cleared the fence by about an inch.'

Edwards said there are five teams in the league with a chance to win the NWOC title. 'Sandy and Liberty are undefeated. Putnam has just the one loss and Wilsonville can beat you if you make a mistake. Liberty might be the best team, but we might be a favorite, too,' the coach said.

'This league is the toughest in the state. We're heading over to Liberty (Tuesday) expecting to win. This team has six solid seniors and a talented group of underclassmen. They can't win without each other and they are smart enough to know it,' he said.

Mulcahy finished Friday's game with 10 strikeouts, gave up just four hits, and walked only one batter. Giesbers led St. Helens in hitting going two for three and scoring one run. Mulcahy was one for two in the game but the homer gave her two RBIs, and clinched the game.

St. Helens was at Liberty on Tuesday and hosts Milwaukie on Friday. They have a killer schedule the following week. They travel to Parkrose on Tuesday, go to Sherwood on Wednesday, and travel to Sandy on Friday.

Score by innings:

St. Helens 4, Rex Putnam 2

St. Helens 000 000 004-4 8 1

Putnam 000 000 002-2 6 4

St. Helens-Mariah Mulcahy and Michelle Sass; Rex Putnam-Missy Bottinelli and Ashley Culp.

St. Helens 3, Wilsonville 1

Wilsonville 100 000 0-1 4 0

St. Helens 003 000 x-3 6 2

Wilsonville-Brynn Lio, Sarah Harms (6) and Megan Bates; St. Helens-Mariah Mulcahy and Michelle Sass.