Tualatin tops Tigard in slugfest
TIGARD — The first meeting was a 10-inning thriller, with runs at an absolute premium.
The rematch was totally different — with four home runs blasted over the fence and a total of 10 runs put on the scoreboard.
But, as different as the two games were, one thing was the same — the Tualatin High School softball team came away with a hard-fought victory over its rival.
The Timberwolves, who came away with a 1-0 victory in the teams' first meeting, posted a 6-4 win over rival Tigard in a Three Rivers League showdown played Friday in front of a large, enthusiastic crowd at Tigard High School.
"Oh my gosh, this one had some more runs," said Tualatin junior Emily Johansen, who blasted a pair of home runs in the victory. "This is huge. We came out with a lot of energy. We wanted to show how we can hit."
"This was big," said Tualatin senior Taylor Alton, who scored a pair of runs in the victory. "Tigard is one of our toughest opponents. Now, I don't know who can stop us. We should have done this the first time. This is one of the best offensive teams we've had in years, and we showed it today."
Tualatin, the No. 1 team in the OSAA power rankings and, according to USA Today, the No. 11 team in the country, improved to 11-0 in TRL play at that point (21-0 overall), keeping the Wolves firmly atop the league standings.
"It's a huge factor," Alton said of the Wolves' perfect record. "Getting off the bus, its an intimidation factor."
Tigard moved to 8-3 in TRL games at that point (18-4 overall), keeping the Tigers in second place in the league standings.
"Playing Tualatin is always great motivation," Tigard sophomore third baseman Abby Soderquist said. "It's awesome to play them. It's always fun. It was a great environment today. The last game, there were hardly any hits. Today, it was a battle of hits."
And the hit parade started in the top of the third inning of Friday's contest at Tigard. Sophomore Tia Ridings got things going when she reached base on a Tigard fielding error with one out in the frame. Sophomore Bella Valdes reached on another Tigard error, with Ridings moving to second on the play. Alton then singled to center field, driving in Ridings with the game's first run.
Johansen then belted her first home run of the game, a line-drive, opposite-field three-run blast over the fence on left field, upping the early margin to 4-0.
"I was just trying to drive the ball," Johansen said.
Tigard got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth inning, when sophomore Emily Paulson hit a one-out solo home run to left field, making the score 4-1.
But the Wolves, and Johansen, answered back in the top of the fifth inning.
Alton singled to left field to lead off the frame. Johansen then hit a high, lofting two-run home run to right field — her second of the game and 13th of the season — pushing the Tualatin lead to 6-1.
"The first one felt better," Johansen said with a smile, talking about her two home runs. "I got under the second one a little too much."
Tualatin took its five-run lead to the bottom of the seventh inning, but the persistent Tigers kept battling.
Tigard sophomore Elli Dardis led off the frame with a bunt single. One out later, Soderquist ripped a line-drive single to center field. One out after that, sophomore Lexi Klum smacked a three-run home run to center field, cutting the margin to 6-4.
But Valdes, the Wolves' shortstop, ended the game with an over-the-shoulder catch, wrapping up Tualatin's 6-4 victory.
"For us, it just takes one hit to get it going," Alton said.
"I had a good time," Johansen added.
Tualatin, as a team, had eight hits in the contest. Johansen went 2 for 3 at the plate with two home runs, an intentional walk, two runs scored and five RBIs. Alton went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Valdes went 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Senior Ella Hillier went 2 for 4.
Senior Megan Woodward, pitching the first five innings for the Wolves, gave up one run on three hits, while striking out nine and walking one.
"Megan got the job done," Johansen said.
For Tigard, Klum, junior Maddie Hoover, Dardis, Paulson, Soderquist and sophomore Katie Regalado had one hit apiece. Tigard senior pitcher Ashley Davis gave up six runs (two earned) on eight hits, while striking out six and walking one.
"We pushed to the end," Soderquist said. "We didn't give up. It was great to compete with them — they're first in state. We want to see them again."
Both teams picked up league wins on Monday. Tigard came away with a 3-2 victory at Canby.
Hoover went 2 for 4 at the plate in that game, with a run scored. Klum, Paulson, Regalado, freshman Sophia vanderSommen and Dardis each added a hit. Soderquist and sophomore Emilie Otto each scored a run. Paulson and Dardis each had an RBI.
Davis picked up the pitching win. She gave up two runs (none earned) on five hits, while striking out nine and walking none.
Tualatin, on Monday, got a 10-0, five-inning home win over Newberg. With that result, the Wolves clinched the outright Three Rivers League championship.
Ridings got the shutout pitching victory. She gave up four hits, while striking out 10 and walking one in five innings of work.
Alton went 2 for 4 at the plate with a double, a run scored and two RBIs. Valdes had a hit, walked twice and scored three runs. Juniors Andrea Gomez and Lily Marshall each had a hit and two RBIs. Johansen and sophomore Savannah Braun each scored a run and drove in a run. Seniors Zoe Olivera and Kayla Laird each scored a run.
On Wednesday, Tualatin will host Sherwood and Tigard will be home to face Lake Oswego in 5 p.m. league games. Friday, in TRL finales, Tigard will travel to Sherwood for a 5 p.m. game and Tualatin will face West Linn at 6:45 p.m. at Rosemont Ridge Middle School.