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Softball team starts league 2-2


A dramatic grand slam got the Lions off to a fast start but the team is looking for more big hits

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - West Linn's Hallie Olmstead prepares to field a ground ball during the Lions' come-from-behind win over Oregon City in its league opener last week. The West Linn softball team finds itself in the middle of an early logjam after four league games. The Lions are 2-2 with wins over Oregon City and Lake Oswego and a pair of losses to Canby and Clackamas.

But, as the first third of league wraps up, the team is playing with confidence, knowing that it has had an opportunity to win each of games this year.

“Clackamas is undefeated right now and we came away from that game thinking we could play with them. We'll get two more shots at it but we have to be a little better at the plate,” coach Jamie LeVeque said.

The Lions opened league with a thrilling 6-3 victory over the Pioneers.

West Linn trailed for virtually the entire game and, heading into the sixth, was still behind 3-2.

But the Lions were resilient. Mackenzie Hartdegen was hit by a pitch and a Caroline Freiling single brought up Briana Barzola who bunted and reached to load the bases.

Maddy Higgins then came to the plate and belted a ball down the left field line. The Oregon City left fielder dove to make a game-saving catch but missed and the ball rolled into the corner of the Rosemont Ridge outfield.

By the time the Pioneers could recover, Higgins rounded the bases for an inside the park grand slam that gave West Linn a 6-3 lead.

The Lions then retired the side in the seventh to preserve the win. Sarah Von Ahn threw a complete game to pick up the win.

West Linn picked up its second win on Friday, blowing out Lake Oswego 15-4.

The Lakers, who are still trying to rebuild their program, struggled defensively and the Lions benefited from a handful of walks as they racked up runs.

On Monday, West Linn battled first-place Clackamas and, after a rough start, found itself in contention until the fifth inning.

The Lions got off to a tough start, giving up two home runs in the first inning which quickly made the score 3-0.

However, West Linn whittled away in the third inning.

Savoy reached on an infield single and Barzola reached on an error. Higgins then reached to load the bases and Freiling responded with a two-run single to make it 3-2.

But Clackamas took advantage of a West Linn error in the fifth inning and manufactured two insurance runs to pull away.

“We're still missing opportunities to get big hits. We're not hitting a lot of balls well right now,” LeVeque said.

The Lions figure to be in the thick of the battle for a top-three finish in league all season long. The league is as wide open as it has been in years.