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The Fusion battles hard, but falls to South Beaverton in District 4 tournament final

JAIME VALDEZ - Tigard/Tualatin City pitcher Camille Schmitz (left) looks to grab the ball as South Beaverton's Lizzy Bradford scores a first-inning run during Friday's District 4 Tournament title game. PORTLAND — Things didn't go the Tigard/Tualatin City Little League Majors (ages 11-12) all-star softball squad's way.

The team, known as the Fusion, didn't come away with the championship at the District 4 tournament.

But, that's OK, the Tigard/TC team said.

After all, the Fusion battled its way to the title game of the tournament, and the experience was pretty darn amazing.

The Tigard/Tualatin squad saw its summer season come to a close with a 9-1 loss to South Beaverton in the championship game of the District 4 tournament, held Friday at Alpenrose Stadium.

JAIME VALDEZ - Tigard/Tualatin City left fielder Peyton Howard makes a catch during action at Friday's District 4 Tournament championship game. "It was really fun to have this experience with the team," Tigard/TC outfielder Jazmyn Jenkins said after the game. "To be able to bond and see how far we've come was a lot of fun."

"It was a great experience," said Tigard/TC shortstop/outfielder Olivia Poulivaati. "Not a lot of kids get to do this. It was super fun to be out here."

With the loss, the Fusion ended District 4 tournament play with a 3-2 record. South Beaverton finished tournament action with a 4-1 record. And, by winning the District 4 title, South Beaverton advances to play in the Little League Softball World Series, which starts Aug. 9 at Alpenrose Stadium.

DAN BROOD - Tigard/Tualatin City's Ava Carroll puts the ball in play during the District 4 tourney title game."It was unfortunate that we lost," Jenkins said. "But it's cool to see another Oregon team go on to play in the World Series. We'll come out and cheer for them."

Tigard/Tualatin City and South Beaverton split their two pool play games at the tournament, with Tigard/TC winning 6-5 on July 25, and South Beaverton getting a 13-8 victory on July 26, setting up Friday's title tilt.

In Friday's championship game, South Beaverton got off to a fast start, taking advantage of five walks, two hit batters and an error, to score seven runs in the top of the first inning.

South Beaverton did get an RBI sacrifice fly by Mya Esuk, and an RBI infield single by Lizzy Bradford in the frame. Bradford's single was the team's only base hit of the big inning.

DAN BROOD - Tigard/Tualatin City shortstop Olivia Poulivaati snags the ball during action at the District 4 tournament title game.Tigard/Tualatin City tried to battle back in its half of the frame. Makenna Reid hit a two-out infield single and Jenkins was then hit by a pitch. Reid would then steal third base. But South Beaverton pitcher Amanda Peterson would coax an inning-ending groundout to get out of the inning unscathed.

The Fusion was able to break through and score in the bottom of the third inning.

Ava Carroll got things started with a one-out single to left field. Poulivaati followed with a line-drive single to left field. Reid then had another infield single, loading the bases with one out.

Jenkins then hit a sacrifice fly to center field, driving in Carroll to make the score 7-1.

JAIME VALDEZ - Tigard/Tualatin City third baseman Kani Korok (right) puts a tag on a South Beaverton player during the District 4 tournament title game."I was hoping to get on base, but getting a RBI was good," Jenkins said.

"It was good to score a run in a big game," Poulivaati said.

Peterson was able to get a strikeout to prevent any further damage and get out of the inning.

From there, Tigard/Tualatin City kept battling.

Camille Schmitz smacked a one-out double down the right-field line in the bottom of the fourth inning. She moved up to third base on a groundout by Taylor Hadden. But, again, Peterson was able to get out of the jam, getting an inning-ending pop-out.

South Beaverton was able to push across a couple more runs in the top of the fifth inning.

Hailey Stutzman singled to center to lead off the frame, and she ended up scoring on an error to up the lead to 8-1. Alaina Baseleon scored later in the inning on a bunt by Ashley Goodale, pushing the margin to 9-1.

JAIME VALDEZ - Tigard/Tualatin City first baseman Makenna Reid grabs the ball as South Beaverton's Ashley Goodale runs to the bag.In the bottom of the frame, Reid reached first base on a South Beaverton error with two outs. Reid then stole second base, but a groundout ended the inning.

Tigard/Tualatin City, still fighting, got a one-out single by Ashley Salstrom with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning. Pinch-runner Ava Jensen moved up to second base on a wild pitch. But Peterson struck out the next two batters to end the game, and wrap up South Beaverton's 9-1 victory.

"It was one of those things," Tigard/Tualatin City manager Steven Dardis said. "It was one bad inning, and, unfortunately, it was the first inning. We couldn't get our bats going, and they (South Beaverton) did fantastic.

"But there are two ways for us to look at this. There's the win-loss, but also our attitude, effort and actions. If we give 100 percent, and we still didn't win, then that's OK."

"We feel like we could have done better, but it was definitely a fun experience," Jenkins said. "And we all want to say 'thanks, Alpenrose.'"

DAN BROOD - Tigard/Tualatin City players and coaches gather following the District 4 tournament title game.Tigard/Tualatin City actually outhit South Beaverton, 6-4, in Friday's championship game.

Reid helped lead the way for the Fusion offense, going 2 for 3 at the plate with two stolen bases. Carroll went 1 for 3 with a run scored. Schmitz went 1 for 3 with a double. Poulivaati and Salstrom each went 1 for 2.

In the 13-8 loss to South Beaverton on July 26, Poulivaati went 2 for 3 at the plate, with a triple and three RBIs to help lead the way for Tigard/Tualatin City. Reid went 2 for 3, with a double, two runs scored and an RBI. Kani Korok went 1 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Jenkins, Hannah Wilken and Schmitz each scored a run. Carroll scored a run, and drove in a run.

Other members of the Tigard/Tualatin City team include Peyton Howard, Talia Valdez and Ema Dardis. Howard Hoyle and Emily Barry are the team's coaches.

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