Marin Penney's three homers lead Lake Oswego past West Linn 15-9
There is no quit in the Lake Oswego softball team.
The Lakers, facing West Linn in their Three Rivers League opener at Rosemont Ridge Middle School on Friday, April 12, grabbed the lead right at the start of the game. But the Lions rallied into the lead midway through the contest and looked like they were on the way to their first win of the year.
Lake Oswego had other ideas, though.
The Lakers broke through for six runs in the top of the fifth inning, and after West Linn tied the game in the sixth, Lake Oswego dropped another six runs on the Lions in the seventh to pull away and win 15-9.
"We knew this game was one of the ones that we had the best shot at winning in our league because our league is pretty tough so we knew we had to get a 'W' this week," said Lake Oswego senior pitcher Marin Penney, who broke free for three home runs, seven RBIs and four runs scored.
"Sometimes we get down on ourselves and our bats go to sleep, so the fact that we came out with multiple runs in (the seventh) inning was fantastic for our team," said Lake Oswego junior right fielder Lainey Chi, who went 2 for 4, knocked in three runs and scored once. "We worked really hard to get there."
With the win — the team's second straight — Lake Oswego improved to 1-0 in Three Rivers League play and 7-6 overall, while the Lions lost for the 13th consecutive time and fell to 0-1 in TRL play and 0-13 overall.
While obviously disappointed with the loss, the Lions remained steadfast in their belief in themselves and their ability to win.
"We just have to keep working hard," said West Linn senior right fielder Gracie Hook, who went 2 for 4 at the plate with one RBI and one run scored. "We get better every single game so we just have to keep working hard, keep up the stamina, keep up the talking and believe in each other and we've been doing that so it will come."
Their success with the bats — the Lions finished with 10 hits off Penney — also gave West Linn's players hope.
"(This was) one of the best hitting games by far and I'm proud of us," said West Linn senior third baseman Paige Mueller, who went 2 for 3 at the plate and scored once. "One difference this game is that we trusted that the girl that was coming up to the plate next was going to do her job."
The Lakers opened with two quick runs in the top of the first inning — on Penney's first homer of the day — and West Linn answered with one run in the second, but the day's outcome really hinged on three huge innings.
The Lions cashed in with the first of those in the bottom of the third when they poured across five runs to grab a 6-2 lead. Lexi Grein kick started that inning with a line drive single to center field and teammates Mueller, Kacie Allen and Lauren Amesquita followed with back-to-back-to-back walks off Penney to force Grein home. But it was West Linn junior Ali Campbell who really made Penney pay, hammering a home run over the center field fence for a grand slam and that 6-2 edge.
"This is probably one of the best games we've had hitting-wise," Mueller said. "There were some great line drives, and Ali Campbell having a grand slam, it was amazing."
The Lakers edged back within 6-3 when Penney hit a leadoff homer off Lexi Finke in the top of the fourth, but it was in the fifth when the Lakers pushed back into the lead. Lake Oswego opened with walks by Lily Cuyuch and Sofia Tosoni, then got a single up the middle by Layney Lombardo, an RBI single by Maddie Sticka, and finally, a grand slam homer to center by Penney to grab a 9-6 edge.
"I've kind of turned a leaf. I'm looking to do that every time now," Penney said. "I think I've hit the point of my high school career where I'm able to do that and I want to show it off so I was really proud of myself and I thought that was a good game for me."
But the Lions weren't done. They came back to tie the game with a three-run burst in the bottom of the sixth, getting a single from Ava Sin, a run-scoring double by Hook and two runs on an error on Mueller's liner to center field.
The Lakers didn't blink, though. They came back strong with another six-run outburst in the top of the seventh, and this time, the Lions couldn't answer. First, Lake Oswego loaded the bases off West Linn reliever Delaney Southards, and then — with Finke back in — Allison Sweeney was hit by a pitch to force in one run, another came home on a wild pitch and Chi followed with a two-run double to center. Then, with two outs, LO's fifth run scored on an error and Sticka singled home the sixth for the final 15-9 margin.
"I was very determined to get up there and get some runners in because the past innings, I did not do well at the plate so I knew I had to get runners in and score in order to help the team," Chi said.
For their part, the Lions maintained the belief that they'll break through and win soon.
"We were loud, we had fun and I think that's as good as it's going to get," Hook added. "We are going to get better and better each time."
For the game, Penney went 3 for 3 with three homers, scored four times and drove in seven, Sticka was 3 for 5, scored twice and knocked in two, and Lombardo went 2 for 5 and scored once. For West Linn, Mueller went 2 for 3 and scored once, while Sin, Hook and Campbell all went 2 for 4, Campbell finishing with four RBIs.