Softball: Lions beat Putnam behind Mulcahy's one-hitter
St. Helens picked up an RBI from Taylor Leal in the first inning that proved to be the game-winner as the Lions outlast Putnam 1-0
St. Helens, in the midst of a stretch in which they've seen three top-ten opponents in the span of a single week, had a tough one coming at the hands of Rex Putnam. The Kingsmen, ranked eighth in the state, remain the only team to take down No. 1 Sandy in league play and are among the league's best in both offense and defense. And on Tuesday, Rex Putnam three-hit St. Helens, taking advantage of the Lions' struggles to score.
St. Helens did one better. Two better, actually.
Junior ace Mariah Mulcahy tossed a one-hit shutout against Rex Putnam, helping the Lions to beat the Kingsmen 1-0 for their third consecutive win to grab a share of the NWOC lead.
St. Helens (10-6, 5-1 NWOC) didn't wait long to make their move. Speedy sophomore Ashley Geisbers, now moved into the second spot in the lineup, was walked to reach base and quickly stole second.
Michelle Sass grounded out to second base, pushing Geisbers to third and making way for cleanup hitter Taylor Leal, who singled to right field and sent Geisbers scrambling for home.
That's when the rains stopped and the hitting dried up. It was back-and-fourth between Mulcahy and Putnam pitcher Sarah Abramson, who struck out four batters in the second and third innings to keep the Lions' offense quiet.
Then after five periods of pitching dominance broken only by Mulcahy's hit in the bottom of the fourth, St. Helens finally knocked on the door as Geisbers proved speedy once again in the bottom of the sixth.
Always a small-ball threat, Geisbers laid a perfect bunt in front of home plate. Putnam catcher Ashley Culp jumped on the bunt and hurled it toward first base, getting the ball to the first baseman's glove inches behind Geisbers' helmet.
Then she stole second. Then she stole third, but Mulcahy's bat was finally silenced, leaving Geisbers to pick up her glove from the dugout and head back to shortstop.
Something of her speed and talent must have rubbed off on third base, which was manned by her sister Alyssa as the Lions' defense took the field, looking to finish off the shutout.
Culp picked up a single to left field for Putnam on the first at-bat of the seventh, breaking up Mulcahy's no-hitter, but Alyssa Geisbers had things covered from there on out. She leapt forward to clean up a soft hit from Putnam junior Maggie Waymire for the first out, and made an alert play to pick off the Culp, the Kingsmen lead runner, at third base.
Ashley Geisbers got on a grounder from Brooke Snyder, and instead of looking for the out at first base, quickly tossed toward her sister's glove. Culp got to third base first, but her momentum carried her past the base and into foul territory. Alyssa Geisbers saw her opportunity and reacted to tag Culp out to the uproar of the Putnam dugout.
But she wasn't done.
The Kingsmen had Hayley Dolfay at the plate with two outs, looking for an equalizer. Facing an 0-2 count with just Snyder on base, the Kingsmen knew it was time to act. She stole second, and when Mulcahy wound up to pitch, tried stealing third.
The key word being 'tried.' Alyssa Geisbers made the easy play, tagging Snyder as she slid into third base to silence any chance at a Kingsmen rally and hand the Lions one of their biggest wins of the quickly waning season.
I like it. I like to know that I'm kind of in control, said Mulcahy, also acknowledging that the value of her team's solid defense wasn't lost on her. I trust my team fully. Just like tonight, they made those defensive plays. They have to made defensive plays, but also knowing that I can do it is a big thing.
Mulcahy has given up just five runs in her league six starts since making her return, and has pitched four shutouts. The highest scoring game included three runs, and the Lions still won by 21.
However, it's not all offense. Mulcahy finally switched bats ahead of last week's beatdown of Milwaukie, and it paid off. With Kali Moore and Finch waiting on first and third and the Lions clutching a 6-0 lead in the second inning, she hit a bomb high over the center field fence, emptying the dugout and bringing a little warmth to the chilled, sodden afternoon. St. Helens won that game 11-0, and for Mulcahy, it was nice to add another dimension to her game.
It's good to hit and pitch, she said.
St. Helens had a short reprieve from their blistering schedule with a 15-1 road win against Parkrose (9-7, 2-4 NWOC) on Wednesday before traveling to Sherwood on Friday.
The Lions will get a rematch with Rex Putnam on May 14 in the penultimate game of the season.
St. Helens 1, Rex Putnam 0
St. Helens High School
PUTN 000 000 0 – 0 1 0
STHE 100 000 x – 1 3 0
Hits (3): Ashley Geisbers, Leal, Mulcahy
RBI (1): Leal
Run (1): Ashley Geisbers
Hit (1): CulpAdd a comment