TC opens district play with 23-6 win

by: DAN BROOD - PLAY AT THE PLATE -- Tualatin City's Sasha Zuckerman (left) tries to tag out Murrayhill's Lauren Powell in Monday's district tourney game. PORTLAND — The Tualatin City Little League ages 9-10 all-star softball team was the designated visiting team for its District 4 tournament opener on Monday.

That was just fine with the Tualatin City squad.

Tualatin City, jumping out to a 16-0 lead in the top of the first inning, rolled to a 23-6, four-inning victory against Murrayhill in a tourney-opening pool play game played at Alpenrose Stadium.

“This team wants to hit first,” Tualatin City manager Howard Hoyle said after the game. “They love being the visiting team.”

The Tualatin City team, which includes four players from Newberg, also says it was important to open tourney play with a victory.

“This was a big win,” TC’s Sasha Zuckerman said. “You want to win the first game to feel good.”

“You always want to win the first game,” Ella Hoyle said.

The Tualatin City club wasted little time in taking charge in Monday’s game.

Karlee Southerland singled to left field to lead off the top of the first inning for Tualatin City. She moved to second base on a wild pitch and then scored the game’s first run on Zuckerman’s double to center field.

Ella Hoyle and Olivia Ashley each drew a walk to load the bases. Hannah Fenger and Jordyn Clinton then both drew bases-loaded walks, brining home Zuckerman and Hoyle to up the lead to 3-0.

Faith Gephart followed with a two-run single to right field, upping the lead to 5-0.

Leilani james and Southerland each had RBI fielder’s choice grounders to push the margin to 7-0. Then, following a run-scoring grounder by Zuckerman, which loaded the bases, Ella Hoyle ripped a three-run double to center field. Brooke Ferris, Southerland and Zuckerman all scored on the hit to give Tualatin City a 11-0 lead at that point.

Gephart added an RBI infield single later in the inning and James drove in Gephart with a double for Tualatin City in its 16-run first inning.

“We watched their pitcher and we were ready,” Zuckerman said of TC’s big first inning.

Murrayhill scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning and three more in the second inning to trim the margin to 17-5.

But Tualatin City answered back in a big way in the top of the third inning.

Clinton singled to center field to lead off the frame. Gephart was then hit by a pitch. James popped up into a double play, but Clinton scored on the hit to up the lead to 18-5.

After Katelyn Evans and Southerland walked, Zuckerman came through with an infield single, with Evans scoring on the play. Hoyle then singled in both Southerland and Zuckerman to push the score to 20-5. Hoyle and Ashley then both scored on a Murrayhill error to up the lead to 22-5.

TC got another run in the top of the fourth inning, when Gephart scored on an error, to wrap up the team’s 23-6 victory.

“The great thing about this team is that they have fun and they never got too high, or too low,” Howard Hoyle said.

The Tualatin City Little League squad pounded out 12 hits in the victory.

Ella Hoyle went 2 for 3 at the plate with a double, three runs scored and five RBIs. Zuckerman went 3 for 5 at the plate with three runs scored and five RBIs.

The Tualatin City team now has high hopes for the rest of the tournament.

“I want to go to state,” Ella Hoyle said. “We’re going to need to think about the little things.”

“I want to win the tournament,” Zuckerman said. “But the biggest thing is to have fun.”

Tualatin City was scheduled to face Tigard in a pool play game on Tuesday.

Results of that game weren’t available when The Times went to press due to early holiday deadlines.

Tualatin City is slated to play Forest Grove today (Wednesday) in a pool play game starting at 5:30 p.m. Tualatin City will finish pool play Friday when it faces Southwest Portland at 7:30 p.m.

Nicole Webb-Box is another member of the Tualatin City team, but she’ll miss the tournament due to a broken ankle.

“We’re going to miss her a lot,” Howard Hoyle said.

Kevin Fenger and Mike Gephart are assistant coaches with the Tualatin City team.

The Tigard squad will be in action today when it faces Murrayhill at 5 p.m. On Thursday, Tigard will play Southwest Portland at 12:15 p.m. Tigard will finish pool play Friday with a 5 p.m. contest with Forest Grove.

Players for the Tigard squad include Taylor Corcoran, Elli Dardis, Kaitlyn Gearin, Kaylee Mo, Grace Nelson, Emilie Otto, Abby Soderquist, Emily Torres, Victoria Vanderburg, Alexa VanderSommen, Sophia VanderSommen and Riley White.

Steven Dardis is the team’s manager with coaches Mark Corcoran and Bill Gearin.

The tournament semifinals will be held Monday at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The tournament third-place game will be played Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The tourney championship game will be played Tuesday at 5 p.m.

The District 4 champion will advance to play at the Oregon State Tournament, which starts July 12 in Scappoose.

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