This Glencoe softball team may be starting to find itself.

The Crimson Tide certainly found something earlier on last week — some tough sledding — when the team dropped an 8-4 decision to Southridge and then fell 8-0 at South Salem, one of the top two outfits in the state.

So it would have been understandable for Glencoe to struggle once again or even throw in the towel when Sandy came to Hillsboro last Thursday.

After all, while the Tide may be reigning Class 6A state finalists, the Pioneers are reigning Class 5A state champions.

But it was No. 6 Glencoe (9-4) that found an early spark, blasting to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and then cruising to a 7-2 victory to round out nonconference play. by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE: CHASE ALLGOOD - Glencoe shortstop Courtney Clayton fields a ball midway through the Crimson Tides 7-2 victory against Sandy last Thursday.

“I’m really surprised how we bounced back,” said Emilee Eastman, who pitched five-plus shutout innings and picked up the win. “It shows a lot about our team, how we came out after two tough losses. We’re still positive after those two losses. Overall, it felt really good. Sandy’s a tough team, so we’re really excited about this win.”

Indeed, the Tide showed their enthusiasm from the get-go. After Eastman retired the Sandy side in order to start out the game, Glencoe showed its bats were ready, pounding in three runs on back-to-back-to-back hits.

Eastman actually ushered in the scoring herself, as her single along the first base line off of Sandy starter Audrey Seipert plated Kamryn Apling, who had knocked a double to center field as the Tide’s No. 2 batter. Maria Dendinger then sent a single into the gap between second and third base to score Courtney Clayton, who had been walked.

Finally, Lauren Messmer put the home team firmly in control with a single that dropping into left field, bringing home Eastman’s courtesy runner, Taylor Paden-Matsuzaki.

Sandy (8-4) tried to respond in the second, putting its first two runners on base, but Eastman dug in, retiring two Pioneers on groundouts, and Apling tagged another on a dropped third strike. The Tide’s sophomore catcher added a highlight-worth bang-bang play in the third, when she gunned a throw to Kylie Surratt, who tagged Molly Nutt trying to steal third base.

After that neither team scored until the fifth inning, when Glencoe put four runs up on Sammie Byron, the 2013 Class 5A state pitcher of the year who had come on for Seipert in the third.

Eastman started Glencoe’s second charge, reaching base on a fielding error, and then her runner, Paden-Matsuzaki, went to third on Dendinger’s bunt and a Sandy error. Messmer brought both runners home with a double that smashed off the right field fence, and she later scored during Apling’s at-bat on a wild pitch.

“She did a great job mixing it up,” said Messmer, who finished with three RBIs on two hits. “It was just sometimes I just got on the ball.”

Macy Besuyen, who singled in the middle of the inning, scored the final run on an HILLSBORO TRIBUNE: CHASE ALLGOOD - Emilee Eastman connects with a pitch during Glencoes 7-2 win against Sandy last Thursday. Eastman pitched five shutout innings for the Crimson Tide.

Abbi Bushong replaced Eastman in the sixth inning with two runners on and one out. She did give up two runs, though one was unearned, but she also ended the inning by getting Tierra Ramsey to strike out swinging. The sophomore then had little trouble in the seventh to preserve the victory, getting a strikeout and a ground out for the final two outs of the game.

“They’ve got a great team. Tonight they weren’t on hitting, and luckily for us, because Emilee really stepped up and did a good job, and so did Abbi when she went in,” Tide coach Jacy Jukkala said. “We kind of came out on the lucky side of this one, I think.”

The Tide needed no luck — perceived or otherwise — Monday, when it pounded Hillsboro 18-1 in five innings in both teams’ Pacific Conference opener. Apling and Clayton led the way on offense in that one. Apling went 4-for-4 with a triple and four RBIs, while Clayton batted 3-for-5 with a double and three RBIs. Seven other Glencoe players wound up with at least a hit apiece as well.

In the pitching department, Eastman, Tatum Becker and Bushong combined for two hits and four strikeouts.

Glencoe travels to Forest Grove today to take on the Vikings and returns home Monday to face Newberg. First pitch is at 5 p.m. for both contests. Those upcoming opponents may be running into a team finding another important something — its stride, together — right now.

“We’ve been working really hard, and our team has a really close bond,” Messmer said, “So I think just being close to each other helps us work together really well.”

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