You could almost feel it bubbling beneath the surface.
While pitchers for both the Lakeridge and Oregon City softball teams kept the lid on the other team's offense for most of their Wednesday, April 21, game, the bats finally broke out at the end of the contest.
The Pacers, held to just one hit through five innings, took advantage of two hits, three walks and one Oregon City error in the bottom of the sixth to fuel their 4-2 win at Lakeridge High School. Likewise, the Pioneers were held scoreless through six frames, then used three hits and a walk to score twice in the seventh before finally falling short.
"They got a few good hits, but I was able to shut it down when I needed to when there were runners on base," said Lakeridge junior pitcher Holly Beeman, who allowed two runs on five hits, three walks and one hit batter while striking out 15. "They got a rally going, but we were able to shut it down pretty quick."
"They were doing pretty good, but we held strong in the end," said sophomore shortstop Gina Allen, who went 1 for 4 in the win.
With the victory, the Pacers won for the fourth time in five games and improved to 2-1 in Three Rivers League action and 4-1 overall. The Pioneers, meanwhile, lost for the second straight time and fell to 1-3 in the TRL and 2-3 overall.
Despite the loss, Oregon City's players were proud of their late-game efforts.
"We all kept our energy up and (that made it) easy to feel better about yourself if you made a mistake, and it released the pressure on everyone," said Oregon City freshman pitcher Lily Riley, who pitched her team into the sixth inning, allowing three runs on two hits and nine walks while striking out five.
"In the last inning, we kind of got on top of (Beeman) and laid off her rise ball a lot better," said junior third baseman Phoebe Borkus, who went 1 for 4 at the plate including a two-run single in the seventh. "And yeah, we just put (the ball) in play."
While neither team scored until the end of the contest, there were plenty of chances. Oregon City loaded the bases in the first inning on two walks and a Pacer error, but Beeman struck out the side to keep the Pioneers off the scoreboard. OC filled the bases again in the third — this time on two Lakeridge errors and a hit batter — but again, Beeman got another strikeout to end the threat.
For the Pacers, Allen led off the fourth with a hard single to center and took second on an error, saw her teammates work for two walks, but failed to score when Riley ended the inning with a strikeout. And in the fifth, Lakeridge had runners at first and second with one out, only to see Borkus turn an inning-ending double play.
Finally, in the bottom of the sixth, Lakeridge broke through. Beeman opened with a walk, junior Ella Hoyle reached on an error, senior Summer Mickey loaded the bases on a bunt single, and freshman Ella Privatsky and junior Lindsey Ahrend followed with RBI walks to end Riley's day and give the Pacers a 2-0 lead.
Oregon City senior Tennisyn Parrish came on in relief to get two quick outs, but junior Alexis Smith's groundout brought in a third run and freshman Delaney Hoyle's hard single off Borkus' knee extended Lakeridge's lead to 4-0.
To their great credit, however, the Pioneers didn't hang their heads. Instead, they rallied in the seventh, getting back-to-back singles from senior Kendyl Keyser and freshman Allyson Pagel, a one-out walk by sophomore Allyson Nordling and then Borkus' two-run single up the middle.
But Beeman wasn't going to let this one get away. She got Riley on a groundout to Smith at second and OC freshman Reese Gardner on a fly to freshman right fielder Elayna Jansen to end the game.
"I got my stuff working there toward the end, which was nice," Beeman said. "They battled back (but) … I knew we'd shut it down there toward the end."
"(That's) a really good team and it's really easy to say 'Hey. At least we lasted this long,'" Borkus said. "To be able to come back and fight says a lot about us."
Pagel and Keyser had two hits each in the loss for Oregon City, while Lakeridge's hits came from Delaney Hoyle, Allen and Mickey.
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