Tigard rolls past Mustangs in it non-league finale

by: DAN BROOD - WAY TO GO -- Tigard senior Liz Vanderburg (left) is congratulated by Tiger junior Alexa Hansen after scoring a second-inning run in the team's 8-- victory at Milwaukie last Thursday. MILWAUKIE — In its final tune-up before jumping into Pacific Conference play, the Tigard High School softball team was hoping to get an impressive, confidence-boosting win.

Mission accomplished.

The Tigers concluded their non-league schedule last Thursday by rolling to an 8-0 win over Milwaukie in a game played under sunny skies at Milwaukie High School.

“I feel like we’re ready now,” Tigard senior Liz Vanderburg said after the game. “We’ve grown together as a team. I think this is Tigard’s year to do good.”

“We’re ready,” Tigard junior second baseman Kayla Saldana said. “We’ve had some ups and downs, but now I think we’re ready to go as high as we can. The team is really close this year.”

Milwaukie dropped to 1-9 on the season to that point with the setback. Meanwhile, the Tigers upped their overall mark to 8-3 at that point.

“This was a good way to get ready for league,” Tigard coach Connie Jolley said. “We had strong hitting and pitching, and the defense was great again.”

by: DAN BROOD - PICKOFF ATTEMPT -- Tigard junior first baseman Emilee Heyden looks to grab the ball on a pickoff throw from catcher Ramsey Hare.The Tigers wasted little time taking charge in last week’s game at Milwaukie.

Tigard sophomore Dena Emmons singled to lead off the top of the first inning. Sophomore Kalyna Korok followed with a single of her own. Saldana then ripped a two-run triple, and then scored herself on an error to give the Tigers a quick 3-0 advantage.

Junior Alexa Hansen followed with a single, and she ended up scoring on groundout by freshman Kaitlyn Nunn to give Tigard a 4-0 lead midway through the first inning.

Tigard flashed some defensive leather in the bottom of the frame, as Emmons, playing at shortstop, snared a line drive off the bat of Milwaukie freshman Abigayle Moore and turned it into an inning-ending double play.

Tigard then tacked on a run to its lead in the top of the second inning. Vanderburg had an infield single to lead off the frame, and she ended up scoring on an RBI infield single by Saldana, giving the Tigers a 5-0 lead.

The Tigers then broke things open with a three-run fourth inning.

by: DAN BROOD - FOR THE DEFENSE -- Tigard sophomore shortstop Dena Emmons fields a grounder in the Tigers' win at Milwaukie.Junior Camille Riggs reached base on a Milwaukie error with one out to start the big inning. Vanderburg followed with a double to center field, driving in Riggs to make the score 6-0. Emmons then singled to left field, but Vanderburg was thrown out in a rundown between third base and home for the second out of the inning.

But that didn’t seem to slow down the Tigers, as Korok tripled to left field, plating Emmons to make the score 7-0. Korok then scored when the Mustangs committed an error on a ball hit by Saldana, upping the margin to 8-0.

That proved to be way more runs than the Tigers needed to back up Nunn’s pitching.

The freshman, in seven innings of work in the circle, gave up no runs on two hits while striking out five and walking one. Nunn was also helped by a pair of double plays turned by the Tiger defense.

Meanwhile, Tigard, as a team, had 12 hits in the victory.

“Once one of us gets a hit, we all hit,” Saldana said.

Saldana went 2 for 4 at the plate with a triple, a run scored and three RBIs. Emmons went 3 for 4 with two runs scored. Korok went 2 for 3 with a triple, two runs scored and an RBI. Vanderburg went two for 3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI and Hansen went 2 for 4 with a run. Junior Emilee Heyden had the Tigers’ other hit.

“This is a great group,” Jolley said. “And we’ve got a bunch of good hitters.”

by: DAN BROOD - THE PIVOT -- Tigard junior second baseman Kayla Saldana looks to make a throw to first after making an out at second. “We try to play well and have fun,” Vanderburg said. “It’s all part of the game. I’m really excited for this season.”

Tigard opened up its Pacific Conference schedule on Monday by scoring an 8-5 win at McMinnville.

Tigard was slated to host Forest Grove in a conference game on Wednesday. Results of that game weren’t available when The Times went to press.

The Tigers will be back in action Friday when they travel to Century for a 5 p.m. contest.

On Monday, Tigard will be home to face Hillsboro in a conference game starting at 5 p.m.

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