St. Helens will take on Rex Putnam on Wednesday in a game that will likely decide the Northwest Oregon Conference title

St. Helens starting pitcher Mariah Mulcahy started off this week thinking she might get a bit of a break. The Lions had games on Monday and Tuesday, and a massive Northwest Oregon Conference showdown with Putnam on Wednesday, a game that could very well decide the league title.

The coaches planned to save Mulcahy for Wednesday's matchup, resting her for the games against Wilsonville (6-18, 4-8 NWOC) and Milwaukie (2-20, 1-11 NWOC).

But when Monday rolled around, because the schedule starter had missed school, Mulcahy's number was called. She pitched a one-hitter to beat Wilsonville, and ponied up for her second game in a row to face Milwaukie on Tuesday afternoon.

For her sake, it might have been better if she stayed on the bench. And not because her arm was worn out, but because she was a magnet for stray softballs throughout the afternoon.

She took the first to the chin during warm-ups, leaving a visible mark. The second hit came to her hand as she tried to get out of the way of a line drive, shielding her face and chest as the ball connected with her glove-hand.

By the time the game was over, one would think Mulcahy might be sitting in the dugout and clutching a roll of bubble wrap, but no so. The junior ace finished out the game, throwing a two-hitter to hand Milwaukie a 10-0 defeat in five innings. She even got the game winner, a grounder out to third base that scored Ashley Geisbers and sent the Mustangs home scoreless.

In fact, she had a perfect game until a walk in the fourth and two hits in the fifth inning broke up the no-no.

And as backup, the Lions were hitting on all cylinders.

Ashley Geisbers, who reached base as Stevie Strawn was put out at second, stole her way to third with Michelle Sass up to bat, and was rewarded with a grounder that sent her trotting in to home plate. Cleanup sophomore Taylor Leal batted Sass home moments later for the first of her two RBIs in the game, and another error on fielding Mulcahy's bunt put Mariah on base and Leal on home plate to put the Lions up 3-0.

Mulcahy then stole third, and an error by the Mustang shortstop opened the way for Kayla Finch to reach first as Mulcahy scored to give St. Helens a four-run lead.

The Lions knocked in another pair in the bottom of the second, and a two-RBI single from Sass in the bottom of the third gave the home team an 8-0 edge. Finch scored her second RBI of the day to bring Hailee Fischer home in the fourth, and Mulcahy sealed the deal in the fifth to end the game early.

The Lions have now won 10 straight, including a 4-2 record against teams, but have struggled to surpass Sandy, Liberty and Putnam in the power rankings, which determine the seeding in the playoffs. St. Helens leads all three teams in the league standings, and can all but clinch a league title with a win against the Kingsmen on Wednesday afternoon.

For updates, follow @JowardHoward on twitter and check for the game story on Wednesday evening.


St. Helens 10, Milwaukie 0 (5)

St. Helens High School

MILW 000 00 – 0 2 4

STHE 422 11 – 10 12 0

St. Helens

Hits (12): Strawn 2, Ashley Geisbers 3, Sass 2, Leal, Mulcahy, Alyssa Geisbers, Finch, Edwards

RBIs (6): Sass 2, Leal 2, Mulcahy, Finch

Runs (10): Strawn, Ashley Geisbers 3, Sass 2, Leal, Mulcahy, Fischer, Finch

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