Kelley strikes out 10 in 7-1 win over LaSalle to get first league win
by: Clinton Vining, Estacada senior Sarah McGregor (5) stands up after sliding into second base on a steal.

Friday's win over the LaSalle Falcons was a confidence-booster for pitcher Micaleh Kelley, who hadn't won a game since the Lady Rangers beat Junction City in the season opener.

The Estacada High School softball team beat LaSalle 7-1 in Estacada. Kelley, who pitched last year for the smaller Colton Vikings, pitched seven innings against the Falcons with 10 strikeouts and no walks, while giving up just two hits and one run.

Estacada centerfielder Sarah McGregor scored four times off of four walks. Third baseman Reilley Schoknecht and shortstop Kaylene Ricci both hit .500 in four trips to the plate. First baseman Krista Beck and Kelley each had a hit, to give the Lady Rangers six hits in the game.

'This was a game that I think really helped my pitcher gain her confidence,' said EHS softball coach Jim Brochis. 'She had confidence when she came here because she had been playing at smaller schools and now she took a little bit of a hit because teams are just a little bit better. So, this was a chance for her to build that confidence.'

The Lady Rangers scored one run in the first inning and four more in the second to take an early 5-0 lead. With breathing room, Kelley was able to work on her pitching technique to regain some speed she had recently lost. Her step was a little too short, according to Brochis.

The Estacada began the Capital Conference season last week with a 3-0 loss to Stayton in Estacada on Tuesday, March 20.

McGregor had two of the Lady Rangers' four hits. Schoknecht and Kaitlyn Christensen each had one hit.

Kelley pitched four strikeouts, one walk, and gave up six hits and two earned runs.

Stayton scored a solo run in the top of the third and scored another pair to ice the game in the top of the seventh.

'The Stayton was one game that was nip and tuck and that was an opportunity that we should have won, but we didn't,' Brochis said.

The Gladiators of Gladstone, who have outscored opponents 59-13 with a 5-1 record, pelted the Lady Rangers 12-2 on Wednesday.

'Gladstone is a good team. They beat us handily, but the girls played hard all the way through,' Brochis said. 'They didn't give up anything, so that's always a plus.'

The Estacada coach also remained confident after the fifth inning, 10-run loss because he said Gladstone's pitcher only struck out two girls in green.

'We're striking out very little,' Brochis said. 'We're averaging maybe two strikeouts per game, so we can't ask for better than that.'

Thursday's game at Seaside was cancelled, but due to miscommunication, the Lady Rangers headed to Seaside anyway. Instead of playing softball, Brochis said, his girls had the opportunity to hang out and bond. Perhaps it was the missing ingredient: the girls won their final game before Spring Break.

When Estacada returns to the ballpark on Saturday, March 31, they'll be visiting the St. Helens Lions. The league season will resume on Monday, April 2, with another game on the road against the Cascade Cougars.

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