Timberwolves set for showdown with Glencoe

by: DAN BROOD - PLAY AT THE PLATE -- Tualatin junior catcher Jasmine Miller (left) catches the ball as a Century player slides toward the plate in Monday's Pacific Conference game. Miller belted a pair of doubles for the Wolves in their 5-1 victory. TUALATIN — The constant rain — no big deal.

The cold, the wind and the mud — no problem.

The looming showdown later in the week — not a distraction.

The focused Tualatin High School softball team wasn’t able to let anything, including a persistent Century squad, get in its way of another victory.

The Timberwolves, overlooking the elements and their upcoming schedule, powered their way to a 5-1 win over the Jaguars in a rain-soaked Pacific Conference game played Monday at Tualatin High School.

“Nothing phases us,” said Tualatin junior catcher Nikki Miller, who blasted a pair of doubles in the victory.

“We focus on what we can control,” Tualatin junior third baseman Alexa Kaplan said. “One of the things we can control is cheering each other on.”

Century moved to 0-4 in Pacific Conference play and to 4-11 on the season with the setback.

The Timberwolves improved to 4-0 in conference games (12-3 overall), keeping them tied with Glencoe for first place in the league standings.

Tualatin and Glencoe, which moved to 12-4 on the season with an 11-0 win over McMinnville on Monday, will have the first of their two showdowns on Friday, in a game set to start at 5 p.m. at Tualatin High School.

by: DAN BROOD - SMACK -- Tualatin sophomore Hannah Self hits a leadoff single to left field in the second inning of the Wolves' 5-1 win over Century. “We’re definitely looking forward to that one,” Miller said.

Last year, Tualatin went 18-3 over its final 21 games of the season, with all three of those loses coming against Glencoe — including a 3-0 setback to the Crimson Tide in a Class 6A state quarterfinal playoff game.

“We’re pumped up to play them,” Kaplan said. “We’ll definitely be motivated. For us, it’s just a matter of playing how we know we can play.”

Glencoe graduated standout pitcher Katie Sutherland-Finch from last year’s team that reached the Class 6A state championship game. But the Crimson Tide returns a strong group of key players from that squad, including senior shortstop Courtney Clayton, who was the Class 6A Player of the Year last year as a junior.

“It’s going to be a good game,” Tualatin coach Jenna Wilson said of Friday’s contest. “Glencoe has a good program.”

by: DAN BROOD - GETTING MUDDY -- Tualatin senior second baseman Beth Fanger dives to try and grab the ball during Monday's game.Tualatin, in Monday’s game, grabbed a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Senior Beth Fanger got things started by drawing a leadoff walk. Fanger then stole second base, moved to third on a passed ball and then scored on a squeeze bunt by junior Joslyn Gastiaburu for the Wolves’ first run of the game.

Tualatin added on another run in the top of the fourth. Junior Sarah Kailiuli set things up with a two-out infield single, hustling down the line to beat the shortstop’s throw to first base. Miller followed with a double to the fence in left-center field. Kailiuli scored on the big hit to up the margin to 2-0.

The Wolves then all but put the game away with a three-run fifth inning.

Fanger, again, ignited things for Tualatin by drawing a leadoff walk and stealing second base. Fanger then scored on sophomore Caitlyn Sung’s double to the gap in right-center field, making the score 3-0.

Sung moved up to third base on a wild pitch, and, with one out in the frame, she scored on a ball-four wild pitch to Kaplan, upping the lead to 4-0.

Kaplan then moved to second base on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a groundout by sophomore Camryn Robbins and then scored on another wild pitch, giving Tualatin a 5-0 advantage.

Century was able to turn a pair of walks and an infield single into a sixth-inning run, making the final score 6-1.

“That was a tough game,” Wilson said. “We knew that (Tualatin junior pitcher) Emily (Sorem) would have to stay in control. We’re still working hard. We haven’t peaked yet.”

Sorem, in seven innings of work, mainly with a wet ball, gave up the one run on one hit while striking out 16 and walking three.

Tualatin, as a team, had seven hits in the contest.

Miller led the hitting attack, going 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles and an RBI. Her second double of the game, coming in the bottom of the sixth inning, was a line-drive blast that smacked the bottom of the fence in left field on the fly.

“She’s come a long way with the bat,” Wilson said. “And she’ll continue to get better.”

“I’ve kind of been up and down,” Miller said. “So this feels good — more to come.”

Sung went 2 for 3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI.

Kaplan, sophomore Hannah Self and Kailiuli added one hit apiece.

Prior to the win over Century, Tualatin posted a 15-5 victory against Hillsboro in a conference game played April 16 at Tualatin High School. Self had four hits in the victory. Sung and Fanger added three hits apiece and Miller drove in three runs.

On Friday, the Wolves got a 1-0 victory at McMinnville.

Tualatin was scheduled to play at rival Tigard on Wednesday. Results of that game weren’t available when The Times went to press.

Following Friday’s showdown with Glencoe, the Wolves will be back in action on Monday when they travel to Newberg for a 5 p.m. conference game. On Wednesday, Tualatin will be home to face Forest Grove at 5 p.m.

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