The Lions down Clackamas and Lakeridge and now hope to make history

The rugged preseason schedule paid off for West Linn's softball team. The Lions appear to be peaking at the right time, winning their final two games of the regular season against Clackamas and Lakeridge to wrap up the league title.

West Linn gave up just one run its final two games, winning the Three Rivers League by two games and adding to its momentum as it gets set to open the playoffs.

“When I interviewed for the job, I said I'd be surprised if we weren't in the thick of it this year but I'm really proud of how this team took charge,” coach Scott Smith said.

The Lions were clinging to a one-game lead in the standings over Clackamas heading into Wednesday's contest.

West Linn split its first two games with the Cavaliers this season and figured to be in store for another low-scoring battle.

Clackamas has been one of the best defensive squads in the league this year and the Cavaliers kept the Lions' bats relatively quiet once again.

However, Sarah Von Ahn was at her best for the Lions on the mound. Aside from the Cavaliers' top hitter, the rest of the line-up could do very little against her.

“They just really never threatened much and when our big hitters, Maddi Higgins, Caroline Frieling and Sarah are getting hits together, the rest of the team really builds on that,” Smith said.

Clackamas pushed across one run early in the game but West Linn was able to take a slim 2-1 advantage heading into the seventh.

Frieling then added an exclamation point with a solo home run to help seal the game.

With the victory and the league title wrapped up, the Lions then could play loose and confident on senior night last Friday against Lakeridge.

According to Smith, it was one of the best games West Linn has put together all season. Virtually the entire line-up contributed against the Pacers' ace, who was back and healthy for Lakeridge.

The Lions jumped up early and Von Ahn never let the Pacers back in the game as the LIons won a shutout 5-0.

“When we get an early lead we play really well as, I think, most teams do and it was really lnice that it wasn't a must-win for us,” Smith said.

West Linn has won four straight games and is ranked No. 12 in the state by the OSAA. The team will host Reynolds Monday in the opening round of the playoffs and Smith hopes the team's confidence and experience against strong competition will lead it to a memorable run.

“It's a new season for us now. The girls said all along that they wanted to win a league title and then make the third round of the playoffs which is something I'm not sure has ever happened for the program,” Smith said.

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