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by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview senior third baseman Makenah Robarts fires a ball across the diamond for an out against Clackamas in the first round of the state playoffs on Monday.

Westview got over its proverbial playoff hump with relative ease on Memorial Day.

Now comes the fun part, the nitty gritty of survive-and-advance.

Shattering a preventative postseason glass ceiling with a 16-strikeout gem from Abby Greer and six runs in the first two innings, the Wildcats won their first playoff game since 2008 throttling Clackamas, 8-1, to set up a secon- round showdown with West Linn on Wednesday.

“We hadn’t won a playoff game in a long time, so we were really excited and ready before the game,” said Greer. “I know everyone wanted to win. I think we can go on a run if I keep pitching well, our hitting keeps up, and our defense keeps playing well.”

“We have to take it one step at a time, one pitch at a time, one day at a time,” said junior second baseman Kylie Alto. “That’s all we can do. We can learn from this game and build off of it, so we can take it into the next playoff game.”

Most of these Wildcats were in elementary school the last time Westview advanced in the 6A’s “second season” as its often referred to. Yet, this confident bunch — winners of 11 straight going into the game and outright Metro champs — claimed their program’s six-year postseason drought wasn’t in the back of their minds as they took the diamond on Monday.

“Not to sound cocky, but we knew we had this,” said senior third baseman Makenah Robarts. “We just have to keep doing what we’re doing and not really change anything.”by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview junior shortstop Kylie Alto tries to get out of a pickle in the fourth inning of the Wildcats first round win over Clackamas.

“We came in wanting it more and didn’t go through the motions,” said junior catcher Katie Whetstine. “We focused on playing for each other and playing as a team. Throughout the year that’s what our goal has been and what we’ve working toward.”

Rather than let past disappointments seize its collective nerves Westview went out and played its successful brand of softball: rely on Greer’s mastery in the circle, give the right-handed flamethrower enough runs with the likes of Whetstine, Alto, Robards and Garrett and play solid defense in the field. When push comes to shove the formula’s been bulletproof for most of the year, as Robarts said, so why wane from it?

The Wildcats put their first four hitters in the game on base and brought each of the base runners home to build an early 4-0 lead. Then, in the second inning with Christy Garrett on second, Alto annihilated a fastball to the deepest part of the park in centerfield that gave Greer a 6-0 advantage.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview designated hitter Natalie Munn takes a cut a below-the-belt fastball against Clackamas.

“After swinging at the first inside pitch and missing it, I kind of wanted to hit the next ball that came at me,” said Alto with a smile. “I actually didn’t feel it (coming off the bat) at all. I didn’t know if the centerfielder was going to catch it or not. It was kind of up in the air.”

Greer said she’s more relaxed in the circle when Westview has the lead, but Alto alleged scoring runs early de-stresses the entire team as well. As a squad, nine of the 10 Wildcats who went up to the dish had a hit or a RBI.

“Once we get a few runs on the board, then we believe we can hit off the pitcher,” said Alto. “We believe we can keep going and keep a run going. Last year, not many people were hitting, but now we’re starting to get our bats rattling a bit more more. That helps because it builds our confidence.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview junior shortstop Kylie Alto celebrates her two-run homer in the second inning of the Wildcats win over Clackamas.

Greer said her riseball was spinning well and helped her get ahead in the pitch count. And, since the Cavs never stopped swinging at it, the sophomore undauntingly doled it out. Out of the first 12 batters Greer faced, 11 went down on strikeouts. Clackamas only had two base hits on the afternoon, and both came after Westview was comfortably ahead.

“If they’re not hitting it, I’m just going to keep throwing it,” noted Greer.

Though the Wildcats look like world-beaters right now, Whetstine insisted there’s room to grow. In one-and-done scenarios where one mistake in the circle, a single bad day hitting or a crucial error can be the difference, Westview wants to guarantee all phases of its games are fine-tuned and firing on all cylinders.

“Our confidence level is really high, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have stuff to work on,” said Whetstine. “We have things to improve individually and as a team. Our confidence level doesn’t really change. We just work harder.”

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