Lake Oswego softball snaps long losing streak vs. West Linn
There's still a lot left for the Lake Oswego softball team to accomplish this year, but the Lakers crossed one big item off their bucket list on Thursday — they beat West Linn.
Lake Oswego — hosting West Linn in both teams' 2018 Three Rivers League opener — scored five runs in the second inning, saw the Lions cut their deficit to a single run late in the game, then escaped with a 5-4 victory at Lake Oswego High School.
In the process, Lake Oswego snapped a 16-game losing streak to West Linn that stretched all the way back to the 2011 season — a spring when this year's LO seniors were just 10 and 11 years old.
"We haven't beaten West Linn since I've been on the team, since freshman year, and (senior Morgan Jones) hasn't beaten them, so it's a huge one," said Lake Oswego junior pitcher Marin Penney, who scattered five hits, five walks and three hit batters while striking out eight. "We love it."
"We definitely strung together the hits, which I think was one of the reasons why we won today," said freshman second baseman Sofia Tosoni, whose second-inning double brought home two runs. "It was definitely amazing."
With the win — the team's fifth straight — the Lakers improved to 1-0 in Three Rivers League play and 8-4 overall. West Linn, meanwhile, dropped its fourth straight game and fell to 0-1 in league play and 6-5 overall.
"I think that, going forward in the season, I think we need to jump on them in the beginning first and then we'll have better results," said West Linn senior first baseman Avery Esau, who went 2 for 3 at the plate with one RBI and one run scored.
"A big thing for us this season has been working on getting that early start," added Lion senior center fielder Brooke McKelvey, who also went 2 for 3 at the plate. "I think it's something to work toward no matter what team we're playing."
After a first inning that saw both teams strand baserunners — West Linn wasted two walks while Lake Oswego got a one-out triple from Kaitlyn Schreiter but couldn't score — and a 1-2-3 Lions' second, the Lakers broke into the lead in their second at-bat.
Penney and Jones opened the second with back-to-back walks off West Linn pitcher Lexi Finke, Penney scored on the second of two Finke wild pitches, and Lake Oswego's Allison Sweeney added a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Jones for a 2-0 lead.
Alexandra Stearns and Abby Tomita worked Finke for two more walks, and Tosoni followed with a double to right-center that made it 4-0. Tosoni advanced to third on a West Linn throw home on the play, then came home on another wild pitch to give the Lakers a commanding 5-0 lead.
"It gave us a lot of momentum and definitely helped us keep fighting," Tosoni said of her team's five-run second.
"Especially when I'm pitching, it makes it a lot easier because I know I have some cushion," Penney said.
While the Lakers wouldn't score again — indeed, they didn't manage another baserunner in their final four at-bats — Penney kept the Lions in check for the next two frames as well. She gave up a single to McKelvey in the third, but stranded her at second base, then walked Esau in the fourth but kept her from scoring, too.
In the fifth, though, the Lions finally got on the scoreboard. McKelvey reached base on a one-out walk, Weston Powers got aboard on an error, Kaitlin Lampson was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Lexi Grein knocked in one run with a groundout.
West Linn then moved closer — much, much closer — in the sixth. Kacie Allen got things started when she reached base on an error, took second on a wild pitch and scored when Esau doubled to center.
Lauren Amesquita followed with a single up the middle to chase Penney from the game in favor of Jones, but Jones immediately threw a wild pitch that brought Esau home to make it 5-3. After Jones got the first out of the inning, McKelvey singled off Jones' glove, and then, with Powers at the plate, pinch runner Taylor Maxwell scored on a wild pitch to cut the Lake Oswego lead to 5-4.
After Powers reached on an error and Lampson walked, Jones bore down for the final two outs of the inning to keep her team's lead intact.
"I think that we really came together as a team in the last part of the game," Esau said. "We are definitely planning on that 'W' in the next game when we play them."
Then, after a 1-2-3 Lake Oswego sixth inning, Penney re-entered the game for the seventh. She gave up a one-out single to Esau, but then got the final two outs to secure her team's victory.
"It was really scary," Penney admitted. "I've been in games like that and I don't usually get nervous, but for this one, I was really nervous."
"There were definitely a lot of nerves, but as a team, you have to have a lot of trust in your players and I definitely have a lot of trust in Marin and she pulled through," Tosoni said.
For the game, Finke allowed just two hits and four walks while striking out two.
In upcoming games, Lake Oswego hosts Tualatin at 7:30 p.m. Monday and plays at Sherwood at 5 p.m. Wednesday. West Linn hosts Canby at Rosemont Ridge Middle School at 6:30 p.m. Monday and plays at Lakeridge at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.