Tigard/Tualatin City rolls in tourney opener
PORTLAND — A little nervousness.
A few first-game jitters.
Sure, the Tigard/Tualatin City Little League Majors (ages 11-12) all-star softball team had to deal with those, but the squad seemed to handle that — and Tillamook — just fine.
The Tigard/TC team, also known as Fusion, shook off that early-game nervousness and ran to a 17-3, four-inning win over Tillamook in an opening-pool play game at the District 4 Tournament, played Monday at Alpenrose Stadium.
"Yeah, they were very nervous," Tigard/Tualatin City manager Steven Dardis said after the game. "We had some first-game jitters, but then they started to relax and played very well."
"We were a little nervous," Fusion catcher Ava Carroll said with a smile. "But it went well."
"Our warm-ups were pretty good," Fusion pitcher/shortstop Peyton Howard said. "And we kept getting better."
Tillamook, which lost 10-0 to South Beaverton earlier on Monday, fell to 0-2 in tourney pool play with the loss. Tigard/Tualatin City got off to a 1-0 start with the win. The team is also hoping that the impressive victory is a sign of good things to come in the tournament, where the champion advances to play in the Little League Softball World Series.
"We want to win it," Carroll said.
Tigard/TC got off to a fast start in Monday's game, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Carroll got things started with a leadoff single to center field. She would go on to steal second base. She then moved to third base on a wild pitch, and scored on a Tillamook throwing error on the play.
Later in the opening frame, Jazmyn Jenkins drew a walk. She then stole second base and third base. She also scored on a Tillamook throwing error, giving the Fusion a 2-0 lead at the end of the inning.
After Howard put Tillamook down in order in the top of the second inning, Tigard/Tualatin City exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the frame.
Camille Schmitz got the big inning started with a leadoff double to center field. Schmitz then moved to third base on a wild pitch, and then she scored on Howard's bunt single, making the score 3-0.
Kani Korok and Carroll then drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Howard then scored on a wild pitch, upping the lead to 4-0.
Makenna Reid followed with a triple to left field, driving in both Korok and Carroll to push the margin to 6-0. Reid the scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Talia Valdez to make the score 7-0.
Hannah Wilken and Taylor Hadden then both walked, loading the bases again. Valdez then scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Schmitz, making the score 8-0. Wilken would then score on a wild pitch, capping off the scoring in the inning, and giving Tigard/Tualatin City a 9-0 advantage.
Tillamook scored a pair of runs, without the benefit of a base hit, in the top of the third inning to cut the lead to 9-2. But the Fusion made sure the game wouldn't get any closer.
The Tigard/Tualatin City squad kept rolling, putting eight more runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third.
Carroll ignited the big inning with a leadoff infield single. Olivia Poulivaati followed with a bunt single. Reid then singled in Carroll, giving Tigard/TC a 10-2 lead.
Jenkins then drew a walk to load the bases. Poulivaati then scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Wilken. Ashley Salstrom then drove in Reid, when Tillamook committed and error on her grounder, upping the lead to 12-2.
Schmitz then plated both Jenkins and Wilken with a single to center field, pushing the margin to 14-2.
One out later, Salstrom and Schmitz both scored when Tillamook couldn't handle Korok's grounder. Korok would then come in to score on a wild pitch, making the score 17-2 at the end of the frame.
Tillamook got a run in the top of the fourth inning to make the final score 17-3.
"It was good to get this first one out of the way," Dardis said.
"It was good defense and good hitting," Carroll said. "We gave 110 percent."
Tigard/Tualatin City, as a team, had 10 base hits in the victory.
Reid went 3 for 4 at the plate, with a triple, a stolen base, two runs scored and three RBIs. Carroll went 2 for 3, with a stolen base and three runs scored. Schmitz went 2 for 3, with a double, two runs scored and four RBIs.
Ava Jensen, Howard and Poulivaati added one hit apiece, with Jensen hitting a double.
Howard, pitching three innings for Tigard/Tualatin City, gave up one unearned run on two hits, while striking out five and walking none.
"I felt good," she said.
Tigard/Tualatin City went on to play South Beaverton in a pool play game on Tuesday (see related story). The Fusion was then scheduled to face Tillamook and South Beaverton in a pool play doubleheader on Wednesday. Results of those games weren't available when the Times went to press.
The tournament championship game is scheduled to be played Friday at 6 p.m. at Alpenrose Stadium.