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Lady Lions snag 5A state softball playoff berth

St. Helens tops Parkrose, then beats No. 6 HRV


The St. Helens Lady Lions sealed second place in the Northwest Oregon Conference with a 3-0 no-hitter against Parkrose, and then topped No. 6-ranked Hood River Valley on Tuesday in a non-league encounter, 6-3.

The Lady Lions will host a 5A first round stateby: JOHN BREWINGTON - St. Helens' pitcher Mariah Mulcahy has been a big part of the Lady Lions' success this season. playoff game on Wednesday, May 22. St. Helens finished eighth in the final Oregon School Activities Association rankings, sending them directly to the playoffs. By finishing in the top eight, they skipped the play-in round. They’ll face the highest ranked team from the play-in rounds in that game.

St. Helens finished the season 19-5, and were 11-3 in the NWOC. The last two wins made it five straight and they won 10 of the last 11 games. Their only loss in that stretch was a 2-1 defeat to league champion Sandy (No. 2 in the rankings). They also lost to Sandy in their first meeting, 2-0, and had an uncharacteristic loss to Wilsonville in the early going. They avenged that loss later with a 4-0 win.

Against Parkrose, St. Helens’ pitcher Mariah Mulcahy threw her first no-hitter of the season, striking out nine, and walking just one. It was her fourth shut-out in a row, and seventh in the team’s last nine games.

St. Helens scored their first run of the contest in the second inning. Taylor Leal walked to reach first and Alyssa Giesbers bunted her to second and a throwing error moved Leal to third. She scored on a bunt by Courtney Anderson.

The Lady Lions added their second run in the fourth. Mulcahy reached base on a single and advanced on a single by Leal. Alyssa Giesbers drove her home.

In the sixth, Taylor Leal powered a shot down the left field line that would have been out if there had been a fence. She was safe on a triple. She got thrown out going home, and Alyssa Giesbers was safe on the fielder’s choice. An error allowed her to advance and Anderson singled to score her.

Leal was two for two with a triple, reached base three times, and scored once. Anderson was two for two, on base twice with an RBI. Sue Sass, Mulcahy, and Alyssa Giesbers each had one hit.

“We had seven hits for the night,” St. Helens coach Jeff Edwards said. “Not a great offensive outing, but we played good defense. We had a player out sick and we adjusted our line-up. We have a little depth and are able to get away with those things.”

Edwards had originally hoped to get in a non-league game against a higher-ranked foe on Monday to solidify their No. 8 ranking. They were unable to do so, but did pick up what in essence was a practice game with Hood River Valley.

“It didn’t really mean much and they threw their No. 2 pitcher,” Edwards said. “Still, we wanted to get ready for the playoffs against a high-caliber team. We really didn’t want to make the drive, but we committed to it.”

The Lady Lions had a good defensive effort in the contest. Mulcahy struck out 18 batters, gave up five hits, just two walks, and the Lady Lions committed just one error.

“It was still a good win,” Edwards said. “We may have to go back there (in the playoffs) and they’ll have the place packed. It’s a nice little park.”

Edwards noted that Hood River is the only team to have beaten Sandy this year, tapping them 5-4 in an eight-inning, season opener for Sandy.

The Lady Lions got on board quickly in the game. Michelle Sass was hit by a pitch, and Ashley Giesbers followed with a walk. Sue Sass then singled to knock in her little sister.

In the third St. Helens pushed two runs over the plate. Ashley Giesbers reached first on a perfect bunt down the third-base line. An illegal pitch had been called and after some discussion she was left on first. Giesbers advanced on passed ball and Sue Sass singled to score her. Mulcahy then walked and Karli Edwards singled to score her.

The Lady Lions led 3-2 at that point. Stevie Strawn would then reach first on a single, Michelle Sass bunted her to second and Ashley Giesbers singled to score her.

In the sixth, Michelle Sass reached first on an error. Ashley Giesbers followed with a single and Sue Sass singled to load the bases. Mulcahy followed with a single to knock in Michelle Sass and Giesbers.

Hood River scored two runs in the first and one in the sixth inning.

Sue Sass led St. Helens in hitting in the game, going three for four with two RBIs, and reaching base three times. Ashley Giesbers was two for three, on base four times and scored twice. Mulcahy was one for two with two RBIs and on base three times. Karli Edwards was just one for four, on base four times, scored twice, and had an RBI. St. Helens put 19 players on base in the game.

St. Helens has scheduled a game with 6A Grant Friday, just to keep the team finely tuned, before the playoffs.