Nikki Miller belts a two-run homer in Tualatin's 10-6 win

by: DAN BROOD - LOOKS SAFE -- Tualatin High School junior Alexa Kaplan (left) reaches the first-base bag before Glencoe first baseman Maria Dendinger can catch the ball on a throw from right field. Kaplan was called out on the play.HILLSBORO — The Tualatin High School softball team got a lot of enjoyment out of their 11-0 win over Glencoe back on May 1.

It was so much fun, in fact, that the Timberwolves wanted to do it again.

And, thanks to a fast start and a powerful hitting attack, they got their wish.

Tualatin swept the season-series of Pacific Conference powerhouses by bashing its way to a 10-6 win over the Crimson Tide in a conference game played Tuesday at Glencoe High School.

“This is good,” said Tualatin junior catcher Nikki Miller, who belted a two-run home run in the win. “This puts us in a pretty good situation going into the playoffs.”

“This was exciting,” Tualatin sophomore designated hitter Camryn Robbins said. “And we’re excited for the playoffs.”

With the victory, coupled with an 11-2 home win over rival Tigard on Monday, the Wolves improved to 11-2 in Pacific Conference play (19-5 overall), putting them in a tie with Glencoe (which moved to 19-6 on the season) for first place in the conference standings with one league game left to play.

“This definitely was a good one,” Tualatin coach Jenna Wilson said. “The girls worked it out as a team.”

And that included a fast start to the contest, as Tualatin jumped out to a 5-0 lead after just a half inning of play.

“We wanted to have a good start to get things going,” Robbins said.

Mission accomplished.

Sophomore Caitlyn Sung ignited the big opening inning for Tualatin with a leadoff single to center field. Senior Beth Fanger followed with a single to center and junior Joslyn Gastiaburu was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Robbins then plated Sung with a sacrifice fly for the first run of the game.

But the Wolves weren’t done yet — not even close.

After Miller walked to load the bases again, Fanger scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by junior Alexa Kaplan to push the early lead to 2-0.

With two outs in the inning, junior Sarah Kailiuli, sophomore Hannah Self and sophomore Tanna Baggenstos had consecutive RBI singles, upping the margin to 5-0 at the end of the inning.

by: DAN BROOD - MAKING THE PLAY -- Tualatin sophomore right fielder Hannah Self (right), with center fielder Caitlyn Sung to her right, gets under a fly ball during the Wolves' win at Glencoe on Tuesday.“That was nice,” Wilson said. “The girls were awake and ready to go.”

“That gave us a nice cushion,” Miller said.

Glencoe got one of those runs back, on an RBI single by senior Courtney Clayton, in its half of the inning to make the score 5-1. Another Crimson Tide run, coming in the bottom of the third, cut the lead to 5-2.

But the Wolves wouldn’t let Glencoe get any closer.

Robbins plated Sung with a line-drive double to right-center field with one out in the top of the fourth inning. Gastiaburu, who singled earlier in the inning, would score from third on a squeeze bunt by Miller.

Robbins also came around to score on a Glencoe throwing error on the play to push the lead to 8-2.

Tualatin added two more runs — with one big hit — in the top of the sixth inning.

With two outs in the frame, and with Fanger on first, Miller ripped a high, lofting two-run home run over the fence in center field, making the score 10-2.

For Miller, who just missed a home run in the Wolves’ first win over Glencoe, it was her second home run of the season, and her second in as many days.

“Finally,” Miller said with a smile. “This one didn’t feel as nice, and it wasn’t pretty, but I’ll take it.”

“It was good,” Robbins said. “She’s a good team leader.”

Glencoe, not giving up, scored four runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, two coming on a home run by senior Maria Dendinger, to make the final score 10-6.

“We used our mechanics, and played with a lot of heart,” Miller said of the victory.

Tualatin, as a team, pounded out nine hits in the victory. Robbins went 2 for 3 at the plate with a double, a run scored and two RBIs.

Sung, Fanger, Kailiuli, Self, Baggenstos, Gastiaburu and Miller added one hit apiece. Miller, with a her two-run home run and squeeze bunt, drove in three runs.

by: DAN BROOD - GATHERING AT HOME -- Members of the Tualatin High School softball team gather around junior Nikki Miller following her two-run home run at Glencoe.Junior Emily Sorem had a complete-game pitching performance for Tualatin, striking out 12 and walking four.

Miller had the big hit for the Wolves in their home win over Tigard on Monday with her first home run of the season.

“Last night’s felt better,” she said about the blast that carried over the fence, higher than the top of the foul pole, in left field.

Tualatin will finish its Pacific Conference schedule today (Thursday) with a 5 p.m. home game against Newberg.

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