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Hillsboro, Glencoe and Banks continue winning streaks, while Forest Grove, Century and Liberty's seasons hang in balance.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Hillsboro sophomore Natalee Dold takes a swing during the Spartans' game against La Salle earlier this season. The Sparts have won 11 games in a row.Another week, another win — or three for the Spartans.

The No. 3-ranked Hillsboro softball team followed up a 4-0 win over Putnam with landslide victories over both Milwaukie and Parkrose, by a combined score of 36-1.

The Spartans (11-0, 19-1) were again led by standout pitching performances: first from sophomore Sydney Lierman, who threw five innings versus Milwaukie Wednesday, May 1, allowing no earned runs on three hits while striking out five; then from McKenzie Staub, who threw five innings against Parkrose Friday, May 3, allowing just one hit while striking out 12 and walking none.

But while seemingly unhittable in the circle, Hillsboro was equally impressive at the plate, tallying 29 hits and 34 RBIs in the two games. As a team, the Sparts hit .518, including a 4-for-4, four-RBI performance from Kiara McCrea versus Milwaukie, and a 3-for-3, five-RBI performance from freshman Chelsey Kinney against Parkrose.

First-year Hillsboro coach Sara Harsin said that the key to this team's success isn't just what they do between the lines, but how they approach the game and the respect they give each other in the process. They take it seriously, but not too seriously, understanding it's OK to make a mistake, as long as you work not to repeat it.

"Our philosophy is to take one game at a time, have fun, play for each other and improve every day," the coach said. "We need to get better every day and learn from our mistakes. Everybody makes them — we just don't want to make the same ones twice. The kids have bought into that. On the field, they don't hang their heads when they mess up, they don't place blame, but rather they pick each other up and move on."

Staub continues to impress, remaining virtually untouchable in the circle while also hitting at a torrid clip. Harsin didn't hold back praise for the junior, who also plays basketball for Harsin in the winter, referencing her leadership along with her obvious athleticism.

"You can look at her stats, but I don't think those say all that she does," said Harsin. "She is a leader, very well-respected by her teammates, and is one of the most competitive yet poised kids I have ever coached. She doesn't get rattled at all. That demeanor along with her work ethic and athleticism is a great combination."

Hillsboro hosts Wilsonville before traveling to both La Salle and Scappoose later this week.

Braves stay white-hot

Banks kept its winning streak alive, routing Tillamook and eking out an extra-innings win over second place Astoria 5-4 Friday, May 3, at Banks High School.

The Braves (10-0, 16-5) built a 3-1 lead on the Fishermen before watching the visitors come back to tie the game in the seventh. Hannah McCourt walked and later scored in the 10th inning to give Banks its 11th straight win.

With the victory, the Braves clinched the Cowapa League title, the 19th time they've done so in the last 34 years.

McCourt led Banks, going 3-for-8 with three RBIs and four runs scored over the two games.

Junior Halle Vandomelen threw six scoreless innings against Tillamook, allowing three hits while striking out eight.

Tide rising

Glencoe climbed to No. 5 in the OSAA rankings this past week and followed its surge up with wins over Liberty and Canby by a combined 36-7 score.

Senior Jensen Becker was on fire, combining to go 8-for-10 with two RBIs and seven runs scored over the two games, including a five-hit performance versus Liberty. Not to be outdone, junior Emma Ware combined to go 6-for-8 with five RBIs and six runs scored.

The Tide (8-0, 17-5) remain undefeated in Pacific Conference play and were set for a huge game with second-place Newberg Tuesday, May 7, after this paper's print deadline. However, despite the high stakes of the game with the Tigers, Glencoe head coach Jason Eastman chooses only to look at it as another piece to a much bigger puzzle.

"All league games are important this time of year, and we take all opponents one inning at a time," he said. "We look forward to a great practice tonight, and game Tuesday."

Falcons respond with extra inning win over Bowmen

Despite a lopsided defeat to first-place Glencoe earlier in the week, the Falcons bounced back with an inspiring 8-6 eighth-inning win over Sherwood last Friday, May 3, at Sherwood High School.

Liberty (2-7, 9-14) fell behind 5-1 in the fourth inning, but scored two in the sixth and three more in the seventh, then followed that up with two in the eighth for just its second conference win of the season.

Tasha Stubbs went 4-for-5 in the game, while freshman Abby Blair finished 3-for-4 with five RBIs and a run scored to pace the Falcons. Blair also threw all eight innings, allowing four earned runs while striking out 12.

The Falcons started the eighth with singles by Jillian Clement and Haley Peebles before Natasha Stubbs' double to center led to what would ultimately be the game-winning run.

Vikings get mixed results

Forest Grove garnered a 3-2 win over Century but dropped games to Glencoe, McMinnville and finally Sherwood, 8-3, to fall to the bottom of the Pacific Conference standings.

The Vikes (2-8, 5-18) are competing — in fact, they are swinging the bats at a much improved rate, even tallying six hits and three earned runs against standout Grizzlies pitcher Payton Hudson. But they continue to give up far too many runs to compete, allowing more than six earned runs per game.

Freshman Hailey Yon led Forest Grove over the past week, going 5-for-10 with three singles, a double and a triple, with two RBIs.

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