Despite a strong effort, TC falls to Southeast in World Series play

by: DAN BROOD - THE DELIVERY -- Tualatin City's Elizabeth Hillier fires a pitch to the plate during Friday's game at the Little League Softball World Series.PORTLAND — It may not have been a victory.

But, players on the Tualatin City Little League Majors (ages 11-12) all-star softball team said it was better.

Better focus, better hitting and all-around better play.

It all led to better, and bigger, smiles after the game.

The Tualatin City squad, which fell 12-1 in four innings to Elyria (Ohio) East Little League to open the Little League Softball World Series on Thursday, turned in what looked to be a stronger performance in an 11-1 setback to McLean (Va.) Little League in a World Series pool play game played Friday at Alpenrose Stadium.

“We all focused more,” Tualatin City catcher Ella Hillier said after the game. “And we stayed with it mentally from the first pitch until the last pitch.”

“We all really wanted to win this one,” TC's Lily Marshall said. “We tried really hard. We hit the ball well and we played well.”

McLean Little League, the Southeast regional champion, got off to a 1-0 start to the pool play portion of the World Series with the victory.

Tualatin City, which also includes players from Newberg Little League and is representing Oregon District 4 at the Little League World Series, moved to 0-2 in pool play competition with the setback.

“The girls battled, but that's just a good-hitting team,” said Tualatin City manager Joey Hall, who wore a sparkly headband during the contest. “I told the girls that the game's not over until the headband is off.”

Tualatin City got a gutsy effort from Elizabeth Hillier, who pitched all six innings for the TC in Friday's contest. She gave up nine hits while striking out six batters.

“I had a couple bad innings,” she said. “They got some hits off me, and I don't like people getting hits off me. Then I started pitching to where the glove is.”by: DAN BROOD - FUNDAMENTALS -- Tualatin City's Kendra Gooding puts down a successful sacrifice bunt in the third inning of Friday's game at the Little League Softball World Series.

That glove was worn by her older sister, Ella Hillier. And the determined sister pitcher-catcher combination powered its way through the contest.

“We know what makes each other tick,” Ella Hillier said.

“We've been together our whole lives,” Elizabeth Hillier said. “We know how to help each other.”

The Southeast squad scored a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, one coming on an RBI single by Elizabeth Hoeymans, and then added another run in the top of the second inning to take an early 3-0 lead.

Tualatin City answered back with a run of its own in the bottom of the second. Maddie DeVerna singled to center field on the first pitch of the frame to get things started for TC. Lindsay Stadick then drew a walk to put runners on first and second with no outs in the frame.

After a fielder's choice grounder by CheyAnn Lang, Kendra Gooding put down a sacrifice bunt, putting runners on second and third with two outs in the inning.

Elizabeth Hillier followed with a single to right field, driving in Stadick to cut the lead to 3-1.

But Tualatin City, despite its effort, wasn't able to get any closer.

The Southeast team scored one run in the top of the fourth inning and three more in each the fifth and sixth frames on its way to closing out the 11-1 victory.

“You always have just one team that wins, and one team that loses,” Elizabeth Hillier said.

“We didn't have any mental errors today,” Ella Hillier said.

by: DAN BROOD - GOT HER -- Tualatin City third baseman Lily Marshall (left) tags out Southeast's Kate Haas in a rundown during the second inning of Friday's game at the Little League Softball World Series.Tualatin City had two hits in the contest, one each by DeVerna and Elizabeth Hillier. Stadick and Camille Hall each drew a walk for TC.

Tualatin City also got some key defensive plays in the contest, including a diving stop of a grounder by Stadick at first base and a key catch of a hard-hit ball by third baseman Noelle Sawyer, who went on to throw out a Southeast runner at home plate after making the grab.

For the Southeast team, Hoeymans went 3 for 4 at the plate and Madison Wolfe went 2 for 2 with four runs scored.

Both teams will be back in action on Saturday. McLean will play the Latin America champion, ASOFEM Little League from Maunabo, Puerto Rico, in a pool play game starting at 1 p.m.

Tualatin City will face the Europe-Africa champion, Lombardia Little League from Milano, Italy, in a pool play game beginning at 4 p.m.

“I'm excited for tomorrow,” Ella Hillier said.

“I think we will have a real good chance,” Marshall added.

For a complete story and more photos from this game, as well as from Tualatin City's other World Series games, see the Aug. 15 issue of the Tigard/Tualatin Times.

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