After giving back a 4-0 lead, the Lions top Jesuit with a two-out hit in the ninth

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - est Linn's Hannah Siciliani looks to make a play on a Jesuit runner at second base during the Lions' 5-4 victory on Monday. The West Linn softball team kept its season alive on Monday with a thrilling extra innings victory over Jesuit 5-4 in the first round of the state tournament.

The young Lions team looked anything but intimidated playing on the road against the slightly favored Crusaders.

West Linn pounced on Jesuit early and had enough left in the tank after giving up a 4-0 lead to advance to the round-of-16.

“It wasn't the cleanest game by either team but we had some timely hits and they had some timely errors,” coach Jamie LeVeque said.

The Lions played small ball in the top of the first as Briana Barzola bunted and reached on an error and Maddi Higgins followed with a bunt single to put runners on first and third with no outs.

Caroline Freiling followed with a sacrifice fly to deep left field to bring in the first run of the game.

After a ground out, Katie Wells then belted a two-out double to make it 2-0.

Jesuit put runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings but freshman pitcher Sarah Von Ahn had the answer early and refused to give in to the strong Jesuit line-up.

In the top of the fourth, Hannah Siciliani led off with a single and Leah Beyer reached base on an error.

Hallie Olmstead laid down a sacrifice bunt and Von Ahn plated a run with an RBI ground out.

Barzola then knocked an RBI single to make it 4-0.

“The most impressive thing about this young team without a lot of experience is that they've learned quickly. They're aggressive at the plate and don't play timidly,” LeVeque said.

But, feeling a sense of urgency, Jesuit's bats came to life in the bottom of the inning. The Crusaders led off with a triple and double back-to-back and a two-out RBI single made it 4-2 before Von Ahn got out of the inning with a ground out.

Jesuit continued to put the ball in play in the fifth inning with back-to-back one-out hits to score another run.

Then, with two outs, the Crusaders walked with a runner on third base. The runner who walked then took off for second base and an errant throw allowed the runner to score from third to tie the game.

The next batter then belted a ball to the outfield but Barzola made a terrific catch on the run to preserve the tie.

Von Ahn then retired the side in the bottom of the sixth inning and stranded a Jesuit runner on third base in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.

Both teams went quietly in the eighth inning but, in the top of the ninth, Von Ahn drew a lead-off walk and was moved into scoring position on a bunt by Barzola.

Then, with two outs, Freiling smoked the first pitch she saw to left field for a go-ahead double.

In the bottom of the inning, Jesuit led off with a single and the runner moved to third base with two outs. Von Ahn then recorded a strikeout to nail down the victory for the Lions.

West Linn moved on to face Lincoln, a No. 1 seed in the tournament with two wins over the Lions already this year on Wednesday. Results were not available at press time.

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