Glencoe sophomores rise to the occasion offensively and defensively in a tense 1-0 win against Tigard

The great thing about having so much talent is that different players can step up every game.

In the Glencoe softball team’s Monday matchup against Tigard, it was a group of sophomores who came to the rescue for the No. 4 Crimson Tide in a tight 1-0 home victory.

Macy Besuyen provided the home team with its only hits — as well as two crack defensive plays in center field — while pitchers Tatum Becker and Abbi Bushong combined for a four-hit shutout to help Glencoe improve to 14-4 overall and 6-0 in the Pacific Conference.

The victory, coupled with No. 3 Tualatin’s 2-0 loss to Newberg the same day, gave the Tide sole possession of first place.

“It was a fun night to be able to see those guys step up and really play what I know they’re capable of,” Glencoe coach Jacy Jukkala said. “And that’s the great thing about these kids. It’s not really about classes, specifically. They always are so focused on playing together, and I think that shows when we do good things defensively like we did tonight.”

Indeed, the Tide were absolutely rock-solid defensively all game long, and they had to be on an afternoon in which their offense was unexpectedly absent against the underdog Tigers (10-6, 2-3).

Glencoe put up the third-highest run total in Class 6A through Tuesday and had scored fewer than four runs in an outing only one other time this season.

But like Becker, who started in the circle for the Tide on her 16th birthday, Tigard’s Lexi Kelly was not interested in giving up much to her opponent, as evidenced by the fact that Glencoe managed just two hits all game, both by the leadoff hitter Besuyen.

But when Kelly did give up something, the Tide made Tigard pay for it.

Lauren Messmer led off the third inning with what should have been a fly out to Camille Riggs in left field, but Riggs dropped the ball. Two at-bats later, Hannah Rossman’s sacrifice bunt moved her close friend Messmer over, and then it was Besuyen’s turn.

Her hit, a bloop single to left field that just landed in fair territory, was not spectacular, but it got the job done, providing Messmer plenty of time to come home standing up.

“The pitcher did a nice job keeping us off balance with her changeup,” Besuyen said about Kelly. “I got one hit that went straight up in the air. It just happened to stay fair.”

That turned out to be it for the scoring, but Glencoe’s defense had a big say in that. Rossman, Messmer and Besuyen tracked down balls in the outfield all afternoon, while infielders Kylie Surratt and Courtney Clayton turned tricky throws to first base into outs.

“I am so lucky to have these players,” noted Becker, who picked up the win after yielding to Bushong with one out in the top of the sixth inning.

The play of the night came in the top of the seventh, and naturally on this day, it belonged to Besuyen. Given that leadoff hitter Katy Warren sent a Bushong pitch sailing back to the center field fence, she certainly did not look like she was trying to stretch a single into a double. But Besuyen has so much speed — and the arm to go with it — that she tracked down the ball and hit Clayton with an on-the-money throw to second base for the tag and a galvanizing out.

“I just knew that one was going over my head, and I just headed straight toward the fence,” Besuyen said. “We got the out, and Courtney did a good job (on the tag).”

In the second inning, Besuyen made an almost carbon-copy play at second, this time to Jessica Vice, to rob Kelly of a hit.

In the end, Bushong also came up big. In the seventh, after walking the second batter, she got Emilee Heyden to pop up to Vice, and then she got Riggs to strike out swinging to end the game.

“We’ve kind of stepped up the play, because we know that we don’t have Katie Sutherland-Finch,” said Bushong, referring to the former all-star pitcher who graduated in 2013. “We really don’t have her now, so we know that we’ve got to come together.”

Looks like more and more of the Tide are doing that all the time.

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