Softball: No gaps for St. Helens as Lions fall to Sandy
St. Helens falls to 4-1 in league play, still tied for first
St. Helens came in to Friday's showdown with Sandy hoping to continue their trend of playing the Pioneers well when the weather was nice. It'd worked once before St. Helens upset Sandy in the quarterfinals of last season's state playoffs.
On Friday afternoon, the Pioneers were able to hold their ground, defeating the Lions 3-1 and handing St. Helens their first loss of NW Oregon Conference play. St. Helens (10-3, 4-1 NWOC) is tied for first in the league standings with Liberty and Hillsboro.
All around, the loss for the Lions was a weird one.
A quick glance at the stats would point to St. Helens senior Mariah Mulcahy as having had the better game from the pitchers circle, finishing with five strikeouts and throwing close to her usual strike percentage.
But on offense, St. Helens simply couldn't find a gap. St. Helens put more pitches in play and were struck out just three times by Sandy freshman Audrey Seipert, but the Pioneers' defense was somehow able to hold St. Helens to just five hits.
Both Geisbers sisters, Ashley and Alyssa, had two hits in the first and second positions, but the potent third through fifth positions were held to a single hit one which belonged to Michelle Sass.
Sandy broke through the St. Helens defense early on, getting a single from Molly Nutt and an RBI single from Presley Turin to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
St. Helens went through the second and third innings without being struck out, but didn't pick up a walk or a hit, either. Sass singled to start the top of the fourth, but was stranded on first base as Mulcahy, Hailee Fischer and Taylor Leal responsible for the Lions' share of the home runs this season came up empty.
The road team finally scored in the top of the fifth, when Hannah Jordan was walked and Abby Austin attempted a sacrifice bunt but managed to reach first base on an error. Tierra Ramsay making her return to Sandy after transferring following last season advanced Jordan and Austin into scoring position, and a bunt from Ashley Geisbers loaded the bases.
Alyssa Geisbers' line drive to left field seemed to be the hit St. Helens had waited five innings for, as Jordan was able to dart home and tie the game at a run apiece with one out and the bases loaded. Then came back-to-back fly balls from Sass and Mulcahy, this time stranding three runners.
An error in the bottom half of the fifth allowed Mac Brisbane and Molly Nutt to round all three bases for an answer from Sandy, putting the Pioneers up 3-1. St. Helens went the top of the six and top of the seventh innings with a walk and a single, but no strikeouts.
St. Helens will have to pick things up in a hurry, as their next two games feature teams with home they are tied for first in the NW Oregon Conference. The Lions will face Hillsboro (8-7, 4-1 NWOC) on Tuesday, April 21 at 5 p.m. The Spartans are on a three-game winning streak, having scored 50 runs in their last three contests. The Lions will return home to host Liberty (8-6, 4-1 NWOC) on Wednesday, April 22 at 5 p.m.
Sandy 3, St. Helens 1
STHE 000 010 0 1 5 2
SAND 100 020 x 3 9 2
Runs-hits-RBIs: Ashley Geisbers 0-2-0, Alyssa Geisbers 0-2-1, Sass 0-1-0
Hits-strikeouts: L-Mariah Mulcahy 9-5; W-Seipert 4-1JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT