The Cougars settle for second place at the NWAACC softball tournament

Mt. Hood CC catcher Mercedes Green quietly did her job behind the plate for the first four innings of Monday's NWAACC softball championship game against Clackamas. No one watching the game really gave her much thought, but in the bottom of the fourth, she delivered a blast that made everyone in the park take notice.

With the Saints trailing 2–0, Green smashed a towering fly ball over the fence in dead centerfield for a three-run homer, propelling the Saints to a 4-2 victory and their fourth NWAACC title.

“I was just trying to get a single to score one run,” Green said. “When I saw it over the fence, I was just so excited. To the win championship, and to be part of this team, means a lot.”

After Green's bomb, the Saints never looked back. They added a run in the bottom of the fifth inning, but they didn't really need it. Mt. Hood pitcher Kristen Crawford did not allow a Clackamas player to advance past first base after that.

The Cougars did get the tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh inning with one out. Kiara Vasquez then ripped a line drive in the hole on the left side. Chelsea Spanier, who committed two uncharacteristic errors in the first inning, dove to her left and snared the ball, then fired to first from her knees to double off the runner and end the game.

“It was good redemption to make that play, that’s for sure,” Spanier said. “It is just a really good feeling to know that my teammates were still behind me after making a couple mistakes.”

Crawford earned the win in the circle as she allowed one earned run while scattering seven hits. Spanier went 2-for-3 and was the only Saint with multiple hits in the game.

Crawford and Spanier were two of five Mt. Hood players to be named to the all-tournament team. Left fielder SheaLee Lindsey and pitcher Ann-Marie Guischer also made the squad, and shortstop Teauna Hughes was named tournament Most Valuable Player.

It was fitting for the Saints that they had to knock off Clackamas for the championship. The Cougars were right with Mt. Hood at the top of the conference all year, and the Saints had to go through the Cougars to win the South Region title. Mt. Hood squeaked by Clackamas in the winner's bracket championship on Saturday to earn its spot in the final.

With as tough as an opponent as Clackamas was, it was the top-seeded Saints who came out on top. Mt. Hood skated through the tournament unscathed on its way to finishing the season with a record of 40-3.

Clackamas moved into the title game with an 8-3 win over Wenatchee Valley on Monday morning, moving into the lead with a three-run spurt in the fifth inning. Rashaun Sells and Vasquez each hit homers in the game, while pitcher Breann Morrison struck out seven in a complete-game effort.

The Cougars only losses at the tournament came against Mt. Hood CC, as the team finished the season with a 39-7 record.

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