Four of the Pioneers hits go for extra bases, including Allie Edwards' three-run, inside-the-park home run in four-run second

PAMPLIN MEDIA: JIM BESEDA - Oregon City's Allie Edwards went 2 for 4 with a single and a three-run, inside-the-park home run to help lift the Pioneers to a 6-1 non-conference softball home win Tuesday over Franklin.Oregon City's softball team broke out a few big bats for Tuesday's home game against Franklin.

Allie Edwards ripped a three-run, inside-the-park home run, and Hannah Stewart had an RBI-triple, highlighting a 10-hit attack that helped lift the Pioneers to a 6-1 non-conference win over the Quakers.

Oregon City pitcher Morgan Hornback went the distance on the mound, scattering five hits with one walk and five strikeouts as the Pioneers (2-1) won their second straight and the Quakers (0-2) lost their second in a row to open the season.

"A win is a win is a win," Oregon City coach Dave Adelhart said. "We lost to Franklin in extra innings last year when we had the bases loaded and they turned a double play on us. It went to a tiebreaker, Franklin had the runner on second, they sacrificed her to third and then a girl hit a bomb … game over.

"We really came out fired up for this game. The focus was to try and hit all the way through the lineup, and we did a pretty good job of that."

Emily Dugan, Isabelle Lewis, Edwards, and Stewart had two hits each of Oregon City, and of the Pioneers' 10 hits, four went for extra bases.

The Pioneers did most of their damage against Franklin starter Samantha Brauckmiller in the second inning when they sent eight batters to the plate and scored four runs on four hits and a walk to take a 4-0 lead.

Dugan led off the inning with a double to left field and Stewart followed with her RBI-triple to the gap in left-center. After Avery Borkus walked and Hannah Vickery grounded out to shortstop, Edwards turned on a 3-2 pitch from Brauckmiller, drove it past Franklin's right fielder, and circled the bases before the Quakers could get the ball back to the infield.

"Definitely, hitting the ball was a big thing for us," Edwards said. "Last year when we played Franklin, we struggled with that, so it was a big deal for us today to actually get good, solid hits. And, obviously, Morgan always pitching well helps, too."

Hornback, the senior right-hander, took a two-hit shutout into the fourth inning when Franklin's Bailey Nguyen singled with one out and came around to score on Emma Foster's double to center to make it 4-1.

The Pioneers added to their lead in the home half of the fourth when they loaded the bases with one out and got a run home when the Quakers made an error a potential inning-ending pop up in front of the plate.

Oregon City's final run came in the fifth when Dugan led off with a single, went to second on a single by Stewart, and scored on Vickery's one-out single to left.

"I thought we hit the ball really well and we fielded the ball well, too," Hornback said.

The pitching wasn't too shabby, either.

Hornback, who signed a National Letter of Intent with Texas Tech in November, threw first-pitch strikes to 24 of the 30 batters she faced, and of the 93 pitches she threw in the game, 65 were strikes.

"It was all right," said Hornback, playing down her effectiveness on the mound. "We had kind of a funky strike zone, but we worked with it and got outs."

Oregon City has a team that is expected to make a serious run at a third consecutive Mt. Hood Conference title and another deep run in the OSAA Class 6A playoffs.

The Pioneers graduated one starter off last season's 26-3 team that lost to Westview in the state semifinals, so they return a lineup filled with players who are a year older, a year wiser, and hungry to take that next step and play for a state championship.

"The theme this year is: 'Finish the Mission,'" Adelhart said. "Our mission got cut short last year, so the goal this year is to finish what we started last year. We definitely have the talent to do that.

"We want to make sure that we put all our energy into one game at a time and that we are solid in every game that we play. That's the way we want to play this year."

The top of Tuesday's lineup was anchored by four seniors and a sophomore -- Edwards, a senior, played second and batted leadoff; Isabelle Lewis, a sophomore, started at catcher and batted second; Zoie Iverson played third base and batted third; Hornback was on the mound and batted clean-up, and Ashley Spencer played first base and batted fifth.

The bottom of the batting order had Dugan, a junior, at shortstop and batting sixth, followed by Stewart, a sophomore, in center field; Borkus, another sophomore, in left field, and Vickery, a junior, in right.

"We want to be in that championship game at the end of this year," Hornback said. "We fell a little bit short last year, but I think we're much stronger mentally and physically this year, so I'm excited.

"The (semifinal) loss last year was hard, but we came out the first day of tryouts and we were already talking about this year's final. We just need to play our game -- hit the ball, field the ball … easy things. I think if we just play the way that we've been playing, we'll do fine."

Said Edwards: "I just expect us to try to be better than we were last year, and I think we definitely can be. We've been working really hard and we have the right attitude this year. Not that we didn't last year, but we're really all set into working as a team toward one goal."

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