The junior right-hander walked two and struck out six to help the Falcons register their first shutout of the season at home Friday

PAMPLIN MEDIA PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - La Salle Prep's Alexis Kemp slide home ahead of St. Helens pitcher Alise Gump's tag after a first-inning passed ball, giving the Falcons an early 2-0 lead in Friday's NWOC softball game.MILWAUKIE -- The St. Helens Lions saw their softball bats go cold Friday afternoon at La Salle Prep.

Falcons' pitcher Tyka Dupuis had something to do with that.

Dupuis, the junior right-hander, checked St. Helens on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts, leading the Falcons to a 10-0 Northwest Oregon Conference home win and their first shutout of the season.

La Salle took a 6-0 lead into the sixth inning when Hannah Sisul scored on Megan Lyver's RBI-single and Hailey Wadsworth added a three-run homer to help send the Falcons (4-6, 2-2 NWOC) to a second consecutive win.

"That was the first time we've shut out anybody, and that was big for us just to prove that we could do it," Falcons coach Kirsten Smith said. "I think we're just proving to ourselves every day that we are the team that we know we can be."

St. Helens, playing its fourth game in five days, had only two hits off Dupuis through the first four innings and didn't start making consistently solid contact until the third time through the batting order.

By then, it was too late.

"We waited too long to hit," Lions coach Miranda Little said. "We waited until the sixth inning, which unfortunately doesn't work with many teams in our league. Everyone comes out hitting, so we have to do that as well. And today, we just didn't do that."

That's not to say the Lions (3-8, 2-3) didn't have scoring chances. But of the nine runners to reach base for St. Helens, only two -- Jasmyne Pense in the fifth and Kortney Smith in the sixth -- got as far as third base.

"La Salle's pitcher was hittable and it would have been nice if we had adjusted to her a little faster," said Brooklynn Mercier, who had two of the Lions' six hits. "We needed to be a little more patient, especially when she was throwing her off-speed pitch. She got me pretty good with that in my first at-bat."

Dupuis did a nice job of spotting her pitches and keeping the ball down on a cold, damp afternoon with the wind blowing out toward right field for much of the game.

"I just tried to get ahead early and then stay ahead," said Dupuis, who threw first-pitch strikes to 13 of the 25 batters she faced. "The wind definitely made my curveball go a little further out than I like it to and it was definitely cold, but I was glad that it wasn't raining."

The Falcons gave Dupuis all the offense she would need in the first inning against St. Helens starter Alise Gump. Sisul led off with a single and scored on Lyver's RBI-groundout, and then Alexis Kemp hit a one-out double, went to third on Kiriahna Edeline's groundout, and scored on a passed ball to make it 2-0.

La Salle then tacked on three runs in the second, one in the fifth, and four in the sixth.

"It's always comforting to pitch with a lead," Dupuis said. "If there are runners on base, I don't feel as much pressure, so it makes it easier to keep pitching."

Said Smith: "Ty was hitting her spots and had good movement on her pitches, and keeping the leadoff batter off base in all but one inning tonight was a key to playing good defense and staying relaxed. It just makes it a little bit easier to play when it's like that."

Sisul went 3 for 4 with an RBI and three runs scored, while Lyver with 2 for 3 with three RBIs, Dupuis added two hits and two RBIs, and Wadsworth had the game-ending, three-run homer.

For St. Helens, Mercier finished 2 for 3, and Brynn Austin, Kortney Smith, Hallie Schwirse, and Pense had one hit each -- all singles.

"Playing four games in a week is tough," Little said. "I know the girls are tired, and we've got prom tomorrow, and I know they've got a bunch of things going on in their heads.

"I'm hoping all those distractions get out of the way and we'll come out strong and ready to go when we go back to playing three games next week."

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