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Softball: St. Helens snaps slump, rallies past Milwaukie

Lions score 14 unanswered runs to blow out Mustangs


The St. Helens softball team nearly always breaks a pregame huddle the same way for every home game, pausing for a moment and shouting, “score first!” for anyone within earshot to hear.

Wednesday's game with Milwaukie was no different. On paper, it was a likely five-inning blowout — especially given that the last time the two teams met up, St. Helens senior Mariah Mulcahy pitched a perfect game as St. Helens won 11-0.

That was, until Milwaukie stepped on to St. Helens' field and punched the Lions squarely in the mouth.

It took St. Helens five innings to dig themselves out of a 6-0 first-inning hole, which came about due to a massive offensive afternoon from Michelle Sass and a dominant pitching effort from Mulcahy, who came in during the second inning and finished with 11 strikeouts and just one hit.

It didn't take long at all for Sass to catch fire. With both Giesbers sisters already on base, Sass hit a fly ball to left field in the bottom of the first inning, scoring the Lions' first run of the afternoon.

One inning later, with the bases loaded and just one out on the board, Sass send a fly ball deep into right field for a three-RBI triple. She then tied the game on a steal of home minutes later, evening the score at six runs apiece.

An RBI single from Hannah Jordan gave St. Helens the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth inning, where Sass once again added to her offensive field day with an RBI single to right field to give the Lions a 10-6 lead.

All in all, Sass finished with six RBIs on three hits, and scored two runs herself. The win moves St. Helens just above a cluster of teams — Sandy, Liberty, Hillsboro and La Salle — who are jumbled in a tie for third place. The Lions sit in second behind Putnam.

The win over Milwaukie is a refreshing one, as it sits on the heels of two painful losses, the latest of which came in a 10-inning pitchers' duel between Mulcahy and La Salle's Loryn Williams on Tuesday evening. The pair combined for 28 strikeouts as St. Helens came back from a two-run deficit to tie the game in the top of the sixth inning.

To say St. Helens had their backs against the wall might be a euphemism.

They'd trailed since giving up a run in the bottom of the second, and another score in the bottom of the fourth, and had runners on second and third when Mulcahy struck out. Taylor Leal stepped to the plate with two outs, and took two strikes and a foul ball before putting the ball in play, a single to left field that drove Ashley and Alyssa Giesbers home to tie the game.

By rule, in the 10th inning, St. Helens was allowed to place a runner at second base to start the inning. Alyssa Giesbers, who had flied out to close the top of the ninth, stood on second as three of the Lions' top hitters — Sass, Hailee Fischer and Mulcahy — were all put out by the La Salle defense.

La Salle followed the blueprint for the only way a full-strength St. Helens team has been beaten this season — small ball. Hannah Sisul laid out a bunt that was snapped up by Sass, but Jasmine Gloden — the Falcons' runner on second base — was able to reach third base. A second bunt from La Salle, this one up the first base line, opened the way for Gloden to dash home, beating the ball to the plate and ending the game in walk-off fashion for the Falcons.

The heartbreaking finish followed another difficult result, last Friday's 3-1 loss to Putnam. It's the first time since losing to Sandy and Wilsonville in 2013 that St. Helens has lost consecutive league games, a streak which saw the Lions win 11 of their next 12 contests.

Up next, St. Helens will travel to Parkrose on Friday, May 1 before visiting Wilsonville on Wednesday, May 6 at 5 p.m. The next home game will be on Friday, May 8 against Sandy at 5 p.m.

SUMMARY

St. Helens 14, Milwaukie 6

MILW 600 000 0 — 6 3 5

STHE 240 080 x — 14 13 2

Runs-hits-RBIs: Ashely Giesbers 3-2-0, Alyssa Giesbers 2-2-0, Sass 2-3-6, Fischer 2-1-1, Mulcahy 1-0-0, Leal 1-2-1, Austin 1-1-0, Jordan 2-2-1

Pitching

Hits-strikeouts: W-Mulcahy 1-11, Austin 2-1; Grogen 11-2, Daschel-Lloyd 2-1

La Salle 3, St. Helens 2 (10)

STHE 000 002 000 0 — 2 7 1

LASL 010 100 000 1 — 3 5 1

Runs-hits-RBIs: Ashley Giesbers 1-3-0, Alyssa Giesbers 1-1-0, Fischer 0-1-0, Leal 0-1-2, Austin 0-1-0

Pitching

Hits-strikeouts: Mulcahy 5-16; Williams 7-12

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