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Unbeaten, and top-ranked Tualatin, will open the Class 6A state playoffs on Monday

TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Tualatin sophomore shortstop Bella Valdes catches a pop-up during the Wolves 17-2 win over Sherwood.TUALATIN — Energy.

The Tualatin High School softball team wants it to be a constant.

And, when it comes to the Timberwolves this season, one thing definitely has been a constant — winning.

Tualatin kept its undefeated streak going in its final regular-season home game of the season, posting a 17-2, five-inning win over Sherwood in a Three Rivers League game played May 9 in front of a Senior Day crowd at Tualatin High School.

"Our energy wasn't at the level we wanted at the start, but, once we started hitting, we got hyped," Tualatin senior outfielder Kayla Laird said after the game.

"We compare each game to our harder games, like we're playing Westview or Oregon City," added senior outfielder Zoe Olivera. "We always want our energy to be at the highest level."

TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Sherwood sophomore second baseman Emily Knott (right) looks to make a thow to first after tagging out Tualatin senior Kayla Laird.With the victory, Tualatin improved to 13-0 in TRL play (23-0 overall) at that point. The Wolves also scored a 15-2 win at West Linn in a league finale on Friday. Tualatin will play a non-league game at Central on Thursday. If the Wolves win that, they'll take a perfect record, as well as the No. 1 ranking in the OSAA power rankings, in the Class 6A state playoffs.

Tualatin will host a yet-to-be-determined opponent in a first-round state playoff game on Monday.

"We're so excited to see what we can do," Olivera said.

The Wolves also know that, as the unbeaten, top-ranked team, every other team will be gunning for them. But, they say, that's OK.

"We've got a big target on our back," Olivera said. "That's been motivation for us."

"We like the pressure that comes with it," Laird said. "We know we can't take any team for granted."

TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Tualatin senior Zoe Olivera (5) slides safely home in front of Sherwood senior catcher Emily Watson during last weeks game.Sherwood moved to 1-12 in TRL games (3-20 overall) at that point with the loss at Tualatin.

The Wolves struck first in last week's game, getting a run in the bottom of the first inning when senior Taylor Alton singled in sophomore Bella Valdes. Sherwood answered back with a run in the top of the second inning, when junior J.J. Pringle singled in sophomore Morgan Hodge.

But Tualatin took over from there. The Wolves took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning, when Laird drove in Olivera with a two-out single to center field. The Wolves added five more runs in the bottom of the third to take a 7-1 lead. The big hit of the inning was a two-run double by junior Lily Marshall. Junior Andrea Gomez added an RBI double in the frame.

TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Tualatin senior Ella Hiller puts the ball in play during the Wolves' win over Sherwood.Tualatin then pulled away in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring 10 runs in the frame. Senior Ella Hillier had a pair of doubles in the inning. Olivera had two hits in the inning, a two-run single and an RBI double. Junior Emily Johansen added a run-scoring double. Laird, senior Megan Woodward and sophomore Sydney Wagner also had hits in the big inning, which ended with Tualatin holding a 17-1 lead.

Sherwood, still fighting, got a solo home run by senior Emily Watson in the top of the fifth inning, making the final score 17-2.

"When we start hitting, it's contagious for us," Olivera said. "It was fun. It was a little rough at the beginning, but we pulled it together."

For Tualatin in the victory, Hillier went 3 for 4 at the plate with two doubles, three runs scored and two RBIs. Laird went 3 for 3 with a double, a run scored and two RBIs. Alton went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and three RBIs.

TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Sherwood players greet senior Emily Watson (4) at home plate following her seventh-inning home run.For Sherwood, Watson went 2 for 3 with a solo home run. Woodward picked up the pitching win, striking out 12 batters in five innings of work.

In the win at West Linn, Woodward went 3 for 3 at the plate with a double and an RBI. Johansen smacked a pair of doubles. Sophomore Tia Ridings went 2 for 3 with a run scored and three RBIs.

Sherwood bounced back from the loss to get a 10-0, five-inning win over North Salem in a non-league game played last Thursday at Sherwood High School.

Sophomore Olivia Dirks hit a home run and junior Sarah Lesch drove in three runs for the Lady Bowmen in the victory. Junior Josie Reid got the shutout pitching win. She scattered seven hits, while striking out four and walking one.

TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Tualatin junior second baseman Andrea Gomez fires a throw to first base during the win over Sherwood.Tualatin, if it wins its playoff opener on Monday, will host either Sunset or West Salem in a state playoff second-round game on Wednesday.

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