Westview climbs back into contention with a 5-2 win over second-place Sunset Monday
by: MILES VANCE, ON THE BALL — Westview sophomore third baseman Ashley Garcia connects for one of her three hits during the Wildcats’ 5-2 Metro League victory over Sunset at Sunset High School on Monday.

CEDAR MILL - There was good news and bad news both in ample supply for the Sunset softball team on Monday.

First, the good news - the Apollos' first-round win over Westview and second-place standing in the Metro League ensured that the Wildcats saw Monday's game as a critical contest.

Now, the bad news - thus motivated, Westview grabbed an early lead Monday at Sunset High School and kept chipping away until it posted a 5-2 victory over the Apollos that cut Sunset's lead over the Cats to a single game.

'They kind of came out for vengeance today. We knew that was going to happen,' said Sunset coach Spencer Mills. 'And for us, the energy just wasn't there today.'

Westview's win, its fourth in the past five Metro League games, lifted its record to 6-4 while Sunset stayed in second place but fell to 7-3.

'We're just trying to get better every round,' said Westview sophomore Ashley Garcia, who went 3-for-4, drove in one run and scored another on Monday. 'We've got a lot more confidence and I think our teamwork is improving every day.'

'We've kind of gotten back in our groove,' said Westview coach Ronda McKenzie, whose team went 2-3 in the first round of league play and 4-1 in round two. ''It's mainly a reflection of our own play and our own chemistry.'

The Wildcats got out of the gates with two runs in the top of the first inning Monday when Jenna Krogh led off with a single, Kellie Studer walked with two outs, and after a stolen base, Dylan Mizer singled both home with a looping hit into short right field.

The Apollos cut that gap to 2-1 in the bottom of the second when Julia Johnson singled softly to left, Brittany Boyd collected a one-out walk, both runners moved up on a wild pitch by Mizer and Johnson scored on a Westview error.

But Westview answered with single runs in the top of the third and fifth innings to extend its lead to 4-1. In the third, Krogh and Brooke Cole drew back-to-back walks off reliever Anna Miller, Garcia singled off Amanda Najdek (who started the game, then was reinserted after Miller's two walks) to load the bases and Studer singled to left to plate Krogh. The Apollos escaped more damage, however, when Najdek got Mizer to fly out to Sunset right fielder Kristina Trindle and she then threw home to catcher Jessy Downey to double up Westview's Cole at the plate.

In the fifth, Westview got a two-out double down the third base line from Garcia and Studer followed with a chopped single over third base to score pinch runner Kendra Day.

Sunset responded with its other run in the bottom of the fifth, getting a leadoff double from Sierra Anderson, a single from Hanna Boyd and a walk by Meghan Lyons to load the bases before Trindle hit a sacrifice fly to right that scored Anderson. Westview's Mizer made sure the game got no closer, though - she got Downey on a grounder to short and struck out Johnson to end the inning.

Westview's final run came home in the top of the seventh when Krogh reached base on an error, stole second, took third on a groundout and scored on Garcia's bad-hop single past second base.

'They really wanted to beat us because we beat them last time and it never happened before,' said Hanna Boyd, a sophomore second baseman who went 1-for-3 on Monday. 'And we came out a little flat. But we came out with a lot of talent this year and we really want to get second place.'

'I'm disappointed, but we still have another shot at (Westview) and … our goal is to be a playoff team and get into the second round.'

Westview, meanwhile, left feeling that it had righted the wrongs of its early-season play and that it would finish strong in the third round.

'I'm very pleased,' McKenzie said. 'A lot of times, this group will come out and score in one inning and then sit back. But today we didn't do that - we kept scoring and that was good.'

Besides Garcia's three hits, Studer went 3-for-3, knocked in two and scored once for Westview. Mizer allowed five hits in the win, along with two walks and four strikeouts. Sunset had five different players with one hit each. Najdek gave up nine hits and one walk while striking out seven.

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