Southridge wins two straight, then gives one back to Aloha Tuesday
by: JAIME VALDEZ, SHE’S OUT — Southridge’s Erica Fitzgerald gets tagged out at home by Beaverton’s Kayla Lauro during the first inning of the Skyhawks’ 9-1 win over the Beavers on Friday at Southridge High School.

BEAVERTON - The Southridge girls softball team just needed a little confidence.

Southridge got the necessary lift by beating Westview 3-2 on Friday and rode that momentum to a 9-1 victory over Beaverton on Monday at Southridge High School before dropping a makeup game against Aloha by a 4-2 margin on Tuesday.

Those results sent the Skyhawks to 2-2 in Metro League play (4-7 overall), while the young Beavers dropped to 0-4 in league and 4-8 for the season with Monday's loss.

'Coming into the season, we were nervous,' junior second baseman Erica Fitzgerald said after Monday's win. 'Having fun is the key. We're young but we put a lot of effort in.'

'We're starting to believe in ourselves,' said Megan Rupp, Southridge's lone senior. 'We can't be intimidated by any team. We just need to have fun and relax.'

A five-run first inning helped the Skyhawks do as much Monday. Southridge added two more runs in both the second and third innings and cruised from there.

'Taking a 5-0 lead in the first inning made them relax,' Southridge coach Wilbur Charters said. 'They came out focused and played well.'

And the Skyhawks came out swinging.

Rupp led off the bottom of the first with a sharp liner into left for a triple. After a groundout and a fielding error, Rupp scored on Fitzgerald's hard grounder through the hole on the right side. Junior Kelsey Oppat followed with a grounder off the shortstop's glove that scored junior Taylor Marchione for a 2-0 lead.

Fitzgerald was thrown out at the plate on the play, but Southridge wasn't done yet. Junior Aimee McRobert reached on an infield single off the pitcher's glove as Oppat scored all the way from second and McRobert went to third on an error.

Sophomore Kirsten Fahlbusch followed by lining a single into right-center to plate McRobert. No. 8 hitter Georgie Kelly then drove a stand-up double over the left fielder's head to knock in Fahlbusch for a 5-0 Skyhawk lead.

'That made things a lot easier,' Rupp said of the early scoring burst. 'If we have a good first inning, it usually tells how well we'll play the rest of the game.'

That being the case, the rest of the game looked pretty good. Southridge tacked on two runs in the second. With two outs, Marchione reached on an error, stole second and went to third on another error. Fitzgerald, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, drove her in with a single just inside the left-field line for a 6-0 lead.

Fitzgerald stole second after being picked off. Oppat and McRobert then drew walks to load the bases and Fitzgerald sprinted home on a wild pitch to make it 7-1.

Beaverton, which is primarily comprised of freshmen and sophomores, got a run back in the top of the third, but couldn't manage anything else run-wise and stranded eight runners in the game.

'We're spotting teams runs in every game,' Beaverton coach Jim Marron said. 'We have to work on our enthusiasm at the beginning of the game and make sure we're focused. Some of its learning to adjust.'

The Beavers had six errors and couldn't get much going against Southridge starter Karissa Beatty and reliever Oppat despite six hits, including two by sophomore Megan Spooner and junior Maddie Evans.

Evans drove a triple to the right-field fence to start Beaverton's third inning. After two outs, Spooner knocked her in with a single into the right-center gap to make it 7-1.

But Southridge went back to work in the bottom of the frame, scoring two more runs. Kelly led off with a single up the middle. Nicole Frayn and Rupp followed with bunt singles to load the bases. After consecutive force outs at the plate, Rupp and Abby Komin each scored on a Beaverton throwing error for a 9-1 lead that held up to the end.

The Skyhawks pounded out 11 hits in the game with Rupp, Fitzgerald, Kelly and Frayn (the team's No. 8 and 9 hitters) each collecting two hits. Rupp and Marchione both scored twice.

'We trust everybody throughout the lineup,' Rupp said. 'Hopefully this will become the new norm.'

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