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Tualatin tipped in league showdown


Glencoe clinches the Pacific Conference championship with a 1-0 victory over the Wolves

by: DAN BROOD - LETTING LOOSE -- Tualatin freshman right fielder Caitlyn Sung, with senior Shelby Doering behind her, is ready to fire the ball into the infield.TUALATIN — One hit might have made a difference.

One break might have made a difference.

But, in the end, the difference turned out to be just one run.

And the Tualatin High School softball team came up one run short.

In an intense game, played in a playoff environment, with big-time league title implications on the line, the Timberwolves were edged 1-0 by Glencoe in a Pacific Conference showdown played in front of a large crowd at Tualatin High School.

“That was a fun game, but I wish we could have pulled it out,” Tualatin sophomore pitcher Emily Sorem said after the contest. “I thought we played very well.”

“I’m happy with how we did,” Tualatin junior second baseman Beth Fanger said. “If we hadn’t played up to our level, I wouldn’t feel that way. We got so many people on base.”

With the victory, Glencoe improved to 13-0 in league play (22-1 overall) giving the Crimson Tide the Pacific Conference championship.

Second-place Tualatin moved to 11-2 in league games and to 21-4 on the season with the setback.

“It was an even game,” Tualatin coach Jenna Wilson said. “Things turned their way and they took advantage of an opportunity. But I think playing in a game like this will be good for us.”

Both teams came out and threatened in the opening inning. In the top of the first, Glencoe senior Morgan Brown drew a one-out walk and junior Courtney Clayton followed with an infield single. But Sorem coaxed a pop out and a groundout to get out of the early jam.

In the bottom of the first, Tualatin got a two-out infield single by senior Shelby Doering and senior Ashlynn Schmitt followed with a walk. But Glencoe senior pitcher Katie Sutherland-Finch got an inning-ending strikeout.

The Crimson Tide then struck for what would be the game’s only run in the top of the second inning. Glencoe sophomore Lauren Messmer hit a one-out bloop single to right field, with the ball falling right between Fanger and freshman right fielder Caitlyn Sung. Messmer moved to second base on a two-out walk by freshman Kamryn Apling and then she scored on freshman Macy Besuyen’s ground ball single up the middle, giving Glencoe a 1-0 lead.

The Wolves tried to answer back the rest of the way.

In the bottom of the third inning, Tualatin, with Sung drawing a one-out walk followed by a bunt single by Fanger and then getting a two-out walk by Schmitt, loaded the bases. But an inning-ending groundout ended that threat.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Sung hit a one-out infield single, but she was caught stealing second on a close play.

In the bottom of the sixth, Schmitt reached first base on a Glencoe error to lead off the inning. But Sutherland-Finch retired the next three Tualatin batters in order to keep the Wolves off the scoreboard.

Sutherland-Finch also put the Wolves down in order in the seventh inning, striking out the final two batters she faced, to wrap up her team’s victory.

While Tualatin wanted the victory, the performance seemed to leave the Wolves optimistic for the upcoming Class 6A state playoffs.

“This boosts our confidence,” Sorem said. “We know we can compete with all the top teams. I’m excited for the playoffs.”

In Tuesday’s game, Sorem gave up just the one run on six hits while striking out nine and walking one.

“Emily can go head-to-head with (Sutherland-Finch),” Wilson said. “She was huge for us today.”

Sutherland-Finch, in seven shutout innings of work, gave up three hits while striking out 12 and walking four.

“She’s really good,” Fanger said. “But I hope we get to play then again.”

“I hope we get another shot at them,” Sorem said. “That would be fun.”

Doering, Fanger and Sung each had one hit for the Wolves in Tuesday’s game.

Tualatin will finish its Pacific Conference schedule today (Thursday) when it travels to Newberg for a 5 p.m. contest.