Lake Oswego softball team falls 4-1 in playoffs to Oregon City
The dark days are slowly but surely fading into the past for the Lake Oswego softball team.
The Lakers played their way to fourth place in the 2017 Three Rivers League season, and in doing so, earned their first Class 6A state playoff berth since 2011. While the team's playoff appearance lasted just one game — the 32nd-ranked Lakers fell to No. 1 Oregon City 4-1 at Oregon City High School in Monday's first playoff round — it meant a lot to the program.
"Building a program from the ground up takes time, but the success we have had in the past two years is a direct reflection on the players' commitment," said head coach Chris Gobel. "They come to practice every day, work on getting better and believe in themselves."
Along the way, the Lakers further erased memories of the 2012-15 seasons, years that saw the team go 1-58 in league play and just 7-77 overall. Now, after two seasons under Gobel, the Lakers have amassed a two-year TRL record of 12-16 and an overall mark of 20-29.
In Monday's contest, the Lakers broke through for a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Layney Lombardo singled to left and scored when Marin Penney hit a two-out double to center field off Pioneers pitcher Morgan Hornback.
For three innings, Laker pitcher Penney and her defense made that lead stand up, stranding one Oregon City runner in the first and two more in the second. But the Pioneers broke through to tie the contest in the fourth when Hornback singled, stole second and scored on Ashley Spencer's single.
While Lake Oswego managed just one baserunner the rest of the way — a Penney single in the sixth — the Pioneers added two runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth to seal their win. In the fifth, OC's Maddie Miller doubled and scored on Zoie Iverson's triple, and Iverson then scored on a groundout to make it 3-1. Oregon City added its final run on two Lake Oswego errors in the sixth.
Despite the loss, Gobel and the Lakers left with their heads held high.
"We had our team goal from our first team meeting of making the playoffs and we achieved that goal," Gobel said. "Playing the No. 1 seed is tough, and having a competitive result in the playoffs is a huge success."
For the game, Lombardo and Penney both went 2 for 3 at the plate, and Penney held the Pioneers to three earned runs on just four hits and two walks while striking out seven. Hornback scattered five hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out 15.