by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton senior Casey Wise hits a ball the opposite way for a single against Sunset last week.

An all-encompassing win charged with hitting, pitching and defense was what the Beaverton softball needed.

Moral victories lost their flavor somewhere along the way to the Beavers. This young team yearned for a tangible triumph, a rip-roaring, concrete conquest that showed up on the left side of the win-loss column.

Against Sunset on May 14, Beaverton conclusively got that elusive, satisfying success, slugging the Apollos with 11 team hits and rolling to a 9-2 win.

“Everything came together today,” said Beaver senior shortstop Kaitlin Collins. “We were so on today. It was awesome. We just meshed. After losing to Aloha yesterday, we wanted to come out and fight.”

“It’s the winning vibe,” added sophomore pitcher Savannah Dickson. ”We needed this, especially for the seniors. Getting everything to work is something we’ve been working on all year as a team. We’ve had errors here and there. We’ve had games where we didn’t hit. But, we just figured it out today.”

Tied 1-1 in the top of the third, Beaverton’s Emily John walked and Casey Wise singled to bring up Shelby Blasingame. The sophomore utility player bopped a single to center to score John and give the Beavers a 2-1 lead.

Junior outfielder Cory Meyer prolonged the scoring revival in the fourth by ripping a double down the third base side that plated Tatjana Schroeder to extend Beaverton’s advantage to 3-1. Collins’ two-out double to deep center drove in Anika Matsumota in the fifth, and junior catcher Ione Gasser followed with a seeing-eye single to make it 5-1.

“I loved our hitting, it’s just so much fun,” said Collins. “Knowing if you had a runner on second, she was probably going to score because we were hitting and moving people around. That’s something we haven’t really done this year. That was my favorite part.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset junior third baseman Renee Crick fires a ball to first for an out for the Apollos against Beaverton.

Sunset put Alexis Gonzalez on second base in the fifth when senior Jade Stewart sent a single to center. With two outs Gonzalez took off for home, but Matsumota caught John’s relay from the outfield and catapulted the ball to Gasser at the plate to get Gonzalez for the final out.

“On defense, we made a few errors but we got over them,” said Dickson. “In some games we didn’t get over them and we made the second error. But, we didn’t today.”

Beaverton piled on the hits and runs in the seventh, getting RBIs from Collins, Meyers, and Annie Wissmiller who drove in two to make it 9-1. Sunset third baseman Renee Crick drove in the Apollos’ second run with a double to left in the bottom of the seventh. Yet, Dickson threw a complete game, five-hitter, striking out two and walking two.

“That’s our real first blowout in Metro,” noted Collins. “Every game has been close and usually we’ve been on the other side. This is just huge for us. It honestly just makes me so happy. I think it’s a big confidence boost.”

“This shows we can do it,” said Dickson. “We proved to ourselves and everyone else that we can win.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton freshman infielder Anika Matsumota reaches up for a pop-up in the first inning against Sunset.

Crick said Sunset’s at-bats have “gotten a lot better” as the season’s moved forward, and used Anna ApRoberts’ RBI bloop single in the first inning as case-and-point. Down to the final strike with two outs and Rachel Sather on second base, ApRoberts elevated a lofty fly ball just outside the reach of the Beaver infield to score Sather and give Sunset an early 1-0 lead.

“I think our hitting is getting there, we just have to string hits,” said Crick.

“I feel like we’re improving every game,” added ApRoberts. “We’re taking every game as a chance to get better both as a team and individually. The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but we all got better today.”

Crick was amazing in the field, saving at least two Beaverton runs with daring snags at the hot corner with runners in scoring position. And, the junior third baseman made an outstanding over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory in the fourth that momentarily stalled the Beavers’ momentum. Sunset’s defense didn’t make any errors on the afternoon, but couldn’t get the bats activated in time against Dickson.

“We have to go out in the field fearless,” said Crick. “We have to go all-out for everything and not be afraid to make mistakes. If you’re afraid to make mistakes, that’s when they happen.”

Sunset will compete in the 6A’s “play-in” games sometime next week, and based on the OSAA power rankings could host a home “play-in” contest. Win one of those contests and this young Apollo team would be in the actual 6A postseason, which would be a great accomplishment considering Sunset only has three seniors on the roster. The Apollos’ hope is playing in Metro with three of the state’s top-10 teams in Westview, Jesuit and Aloha will toughen Sunset and set them up for a mini-run to the second season.

“Even though we may not be the best in Metro, we’re still one of the best teams out there,” said Crick. “I think Metro definitely prepares you for the playoffs.”

“We just have to play our game and not get outside of our game,” said ApRoberts. “We need to focus on ourselves and what we can control instead of getting caught up in what’s going on around us.”

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