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Tigard, Tualatin City play a thriller

Tigard holds on to get an 8-6 district semifinal victory


by: DAN BROOD - DOUBLE TIME -- Tualatin City's Olivia Ashley (left) gets to second base, for a double, before Tigard shortstop Kaitlyn Gearin can make the tag in Monday's district semifinal game. Tigard won 8-6. PORTLAND — At the high-school level, the Tigard-Tualatin rivalry always seems to produce intense, thrilling contests.

Well, that rivalry went to the ages 9-10 level, on the softball field on Monday, and the result was, you guessed it, an intense, thrilling contest.

Tigard, jumping out to a 7-1 lead and then holding off furious last-inning Tualatin City rally, scored an 8-6 victory in a District 4 ages 9-10 Tournament semifinal game played at Alpenrose Stadium.

“That was a lot of fun,” Tigard manager Steven Dardis said after the game. “It’s always that way with Tualatin. The cross-town rivalry gets everyone fired up.”

“That was amazing,” said Tigard’s Victoria Vanderburg, who pitched the first two innings for Tigard in the win. “It was 100-percent fun.”

“It was very exciting,” Tigard’s Taylor Corcoran added.

With the victory, Tigard advanced to meet Southwest Portland in Tuesday’s tournament championship game (see related story).

Tualatin City, with the hard-fought setback, moved on to meet Forest Grove in Tuesday’s tourney third-place game.

“I’m proud of what our girls did. They worked hard,” Tualatin City manager Howard Hoyle said. “Hats off to Tigard. It’s always interesting when we play them. All of the girls know each other.”

Tualatin City grabbed an early 1-0 lead in Monday’s semifinal contest, getting a run in the top of the first inning.

Olivia Ashley got things going for TC with a one-out double to right field. Ashley moved to third base on a groundout by Ella Hoyle and then she scored on a passed ball to give Tualatin City its quick lead.

Tigard, still trailing 1-0 at that point, exploded for five runs in the bottom of the second inning to take charge.

Kaylee Mo led off the inning with an infield single. Emilie Otto, Abby Soderquist and Riley White then drew consecutive walks, with Mo scoring on White’s bases-loaded walk to tie the game at 1-1.

Kaitlyn Gearin followed with a single to left field. Otto and Soderquist both scored on the hit to give Tigard a 3-1 lead. With two outs in the inning, Vanderburg singled in both White and Gearin to give Tigard a 5-1 advantage.

Tigard struck again in the bottom of the third inning. Again, Mo got things going for Tigard as she led off the frame with an infield single. Mo moved to second and third base on passed balls. She then scored when Tualatin City couldn’t handle Sophia VanderSommen’s grounder, giving Tigard a 6-1 lead.

Later in the frame, Soderquist, who reached base on a bunt single, scored on a grounder by Gearin to push the Tigard lead to 7-1.

Tualatin City answered back in the top of the fourth inning. Karlee Southerland singled to center field to lead off the frame for TC, and Jordyn Clinton drew a one-out walk. They both came around to score on a two-out, bases-loaded double by Sasha Zuckerman, cutting the Tigard lead to 7-3.

Tigard got one of those runs back in the bottom of the frame. Corcoran drew a leadoff walk, she stole second and third base and then scored on a grounder by Alexa VanderSommen to push the margin to 8-3.

Tualatin City found itself still facing an 8-3 deficit going into the sixth inning, but TC seemed to try its best to battle its way back into the game.

Faith Gephart hit a one-out double to get things going for Tualatin City in the frame. Then, after Katelyn Evans drew a walk, Zuckerman drove in Gephart with a single to left field, making the score 8-4.

Soon after, Ashley singled in both Evans and Zuckerman to cut the lead to 8-6.

Tualatin City got the potential tying runs on base with two outs in the frame, but Tigard got a game-ending strikeout to wrap up the 8-6 win and a trip to the championship game.

“We were nervous, but confident,” Corcoran said of the nail-biting finish to the contest.

“Our girls never give up. They never quit,” Howard Hoyle said of the Tualatin City team. “The girls worked hard. It’s sad right now, but I’m real proud of them.”

Vanderburg, Corcoran and Gearin all pitched for Tigard in the win.

“Our pitching has been excellent,” Steven Dardis said.

Tigard also had six hits in the victory, including two each by Mo and Soderquist.

But, Tigard says there was another key factor — besides the strong pitching and timely hitting — in the victory.

“We do a lot of cheering,” Gearin said.

“We always cheer each other on,” said Elli Dardis, who missed the game after suffering a broken finger in an earlier tournament game with Southwest Portland.

Tualatin City had six hits in the contest, including two each by Ashley and Zuckerman.

TC also wasn’t at full strength in Monday’s game. Nicole Webb-Box has missed the entire district tournament due to injury and Leilani James suffered a twisted knee stealing third in the fifth inning of Monday’s game.

“She’s come a long way in the last couple of weeks,” Hoyle said of James. “I’m really proud of her.”

Other players on the Tualatin City team include Hannah Fenger and Brooke Ferris. Kevin Fenger and Mike Gephart are coaches with the team.

Other players on the Tigard squad include Grace Nelson and Emily Torres. Mark Corcoran and Bill Gearin are the team’s coaches.




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