by: Matthew Sherman, 
Second-baseman Melonie Walsworth fields a ground ball during last week’s 10-4 victory over West Linn which left the Pacers alone in second place in the league.

It's been awhile since the Lakeridge softball team has been in this position. The Pacers are alone in second place and winner of three straight games.

The most recent victory came last week 10-4 over West Linn and it means that the Pacers now possess the tiebreaker over the Lions and Lake Oswego, something that could be crucial in a tight playoff race.

Even with the recent victories, just two games separate second place from sixth meaning that the Pacers can ill afford to rest on their laurels.

Last Friday, Lakeridge's bats came to life against West Linn which was a welcome sign. When the two teams met previously, the Pacers eked out a 1-0 victory.

This game was equally close until the fifth inning.

West Linn got on the board early with a run in the top of the first inning and held the lead until the third inning.

That's when Lakeridge's patience paid off as the team drew three walks from West Linn pitcher Rhianna Russell and forced a call to the bullpen.

Melonie Walsworth then hit an RBI single and Chelsea Canlas plated a run with an RBI ground out. With two outs, Zoe Teton belted a double to score Walsworth and give the Pacers a 3-1 edge.

West Linn tied the score up in the top of the fifth inning on a pair of unearned runs but Lakeridge made sure the Lions wouldn't steal momentum.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Pacers loaded the bases on hits by Teton, Hanna Steger and Lexi Graybeal. Mackenzie Griffin followed with a two-run single and Natalie Rose added a two-run hit to give Lakeridge a four-run advantage.

That was more than enough cushion for Rose on the mound who went the distance and struck out eight batters. She struck out the side in the top of the sixth inning and the Pacers then added three more runs to put the game away.

Teton was 4-for-4 in the game with a double, triple and stolen base. Rose was 3-for-3 and Graybeal and Steger each had two hits.

Lakeridge had two games remaining against winless Milwaukie and an Oregon City team that is currently in third place. They have one more game left against Putnam, West Linn, Clackamas and Lake Oswego.

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