Nelson softball beats rival Clackamas 11-1 on Wednesday
There's a new rivalry out there.
And the new kid on the block in the rivalry — in this case, the Nelson softball team — stepped up and showed it was ready to play.
The Hawks, hosting cross-district rival Clackamas on Wednesday, April 13, proved it by posting an impressive 11-1 victory in five innings at Nelson High School.
"I think it was a great start," said Nelson freshman third baseman Sofia Forbito, who went 2 for 3 at the plate with one run scored and two RBIs. "(Pitcher Noel Julison) did a great job and we just played really well. We came out strong."
For her part, Julison — a senior right-hander — limited Clackamas to one run on four hits and no walks while striking out four.
"I felt pretty good," Julison said. "I was pretty comfortable because I'm friends with a lot of girls on the team. I know a lot of the girls on their team so it was just fun for me."
With the win, the Hawks' second straight, Nelson improved to 2-0 in the Mt. Hood Conference and 7-4 overall. Clackamas, meanwhile, dropped its fifth straight game and fell to 0-1 in MHC play and 2-10 overall.
While the Cavaliers were obviously disappointed with the loss, they remained steadfast in their skills — and their ability to turn things around.
"I think it was our bats," said Clackamas senior shortstop Kate Kraljev, who went 1 for 2 at the plate with a double. "I think if we would have gotten our bats started sooner, it would have been a different ballgame."
"We just weren't seeing the ball really well," said junior center fielder Jordan Reichlein, who went 1 for 2 at the plate and scored her team's lone run. "Some of us have seen (Julison) before so I don't really know what the issue was today. That was our main topic of discussion (after the game)."
The Hawks were on fire at the start of the game, with Julison setting the Cavaliers down in order in each of the day's first two innings while her teammates poured across four runs in the bottom of the first and four more in the bottom of the second for a commanding 8-0 lead.
Nelson got a pair of walks early in its first at-bat before Forbito singled up the middle with two outs to drive home a pair of runs. Then, after sophomore Olivia Nelson walked, Forbito scored on Julison's infield hit and Nelson came home later when sophomore Jaisa Juliano singled to left.
There was more excitement in the bottom of the second, too. After a leadoff walk to junior Ailee Young and a single by senior Olivia Wooten, junior Kaylie Christopher smacked a two-run double to plate both runners. Freshman Abigail Huspek followed with an RBI double of her own, and after a Forbito single, Huspek scored on Julison's groundout to make it 8-0.
"(Scoring early) takes a lot of the pressure off of me and I appreciate it," Julison said. "It makes my job a lot easier and we get out and we win games."
Clackamas freshman designated hitter Maddy Martin broke up Julison's no-hitter with a leadoff single to center in the top of the third, but Julison faced just three batters again thanks to a fielder's choice, a strikeout and a Cavalier runner caught stealing by Nelson catcher Huspek.
Clackamas scored its lone run in the fourth when Reichlein hit a one-out infield single, moved to third on Kraljev's double and scored on senior Brenna Ridgeway-Hatch's groundout.
The Hawks hardly blinked, however, and put the game away with three runs in the bottom of the fourth, with Julison and Young both driving in runs and the third coming home on a passed ball.
Martin singled with one out in the top of the fifth, but Julison put the game away with a strikeout and a pop-up.
"We definitely had nerves, but we tried not to show them," Forbito said. "We just came in confident today that we were going to do our best and put it all on the field."
For their part, the Cavaliers promised to learn from the loss and improve.
"We just need to stay up and don't let the errors get you down because it's going to happen," Kraljev said. "And on the other side, (we need to) get the bats going early, keep the defense clean and pick each other up."
For the game, Julison went 2 for 3 at the plate and knocked in three runs, while Juliano went 1 for 3 with one run and one RBI. For Clackamas, Martin finished 2 for 2 at the plate.
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