Tualatin tops South Eugene to stay perfect
CEDAR MILL — Another impressive performance.
It's become commonplace early in the season for the Tualatin High School softball team.
But, and here's the scary part for the rest of the state, the Timberwolves say they're working hard to get even better.
Tualatin, playing near-perfect ball for the first six innings of play, stayed unbeaten on the 2018 campaign by scoring a 4-2 win over South Eugene in a Sunset/West Linn tournament game played Tuesday at Sunset High School.
"We started off strong, but there are things for us to work on," said Tualatin senior pitcher Megan Woodward, who pitched the first three innings of the win over South Eugene, not allowing a baserunner. "But it's looking good."
"We came in expecting to work hard and focus on the fundamentals," said Tualatin junior first baseman Emily Johansen, who doubled, scored a run and drove in a run in the victory.
With the loss, South Eugene moved to 2-6 on the season. The Wolves improved to 6-0, at that point, with the win.
"As a team, we've been hitting the ball well all through the line-up," Johansen said. "And our defense has been awesome."
"Our defense is so solid," Woodward added. "They have my back 100 percent."
And, as Woodward showed on Tuesday, the Wolves' pitching looks to be pretty darn strong as well.
Woodward, in her three innings of work, gave up no runs, on no hits, while striking out five and walking none.
"Megan pitched a great game," Johansen said.
"A lot of that has to do with (Tualatin senior catcher) Ella (Hillier)," Woodward said. "We work well together."
The Wolves took early control in Tuesday's game, scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore Bella Valdes, leading off the frame, reached first on an infield single. She moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by senior Taylor Alton. Valdes then scored from second on a sacrifice fly by Johansen, when two South Eugene outfielders collided while making a catch in deep left-center field.
Tualatin added another run in the bottom of the second. Junior Andrea Gomez drew a one-out walk, and she ended up scoring on Woodward's two-out double down the right-field line, making the score 2-0.
The Wolves struck again in the bottom of the third. With two outs and the bases empty, Johansen doubled, with the ball hitting the very top of the fence in right-center field, just a couple inches from being a home run.
"It was close," Johansen said with a smile. "We were focusing on hitting line drives."
Senior Zoe Olivera, up next for Tualatin, wouldn't be denied, as she blasted the ball over the fence in left-center field for a two-run home run, upping the margin to 4-0.
"Zoe and I have a friendly competition," Johansen said, still smiling.
South Eugene got a pair of hits, and scored a pair of runs, in the top of the seventh inning to make the final score 4-2.
"Heck yeah, we're having fun," Woodward said.
"That's what it's all about," Johansen added.
Tualatin had five hits in the win, Olivera's home run, doubles by Johansen and Woodward, and singles by Valdes and junior Lily Marshall. The Wolves didn't have any strikeouts and hit many line-drive outs to the outfield.
Marshall pitched the final four innings for Tualatin. The Timberwolf defense had an errorless game, also getting a double play, started by Alton at third base, in the top of the fourth inning.
Later on Tuesday, the Wolves rolled to an 11-3 win over St. Helens in tourney play at Sunset.
Johansen and Alton led the offensive fireworks in that game, each belting a pair of home runs. Alton also doubled, while going 4 for 5 with three runs scored and four RBIs. Hillier went 4 for 5 with a triple, two stolen bases, two runs scored and an RBI. Sophomore Tia Ridings had three hits. Senior Kayla Laird and freshman Taylor Corcoran each had two hits.
Ridings also pitched a complete game for the Wolves, giving up three runs on six hits, while striking out 14 and walking three.
Tualatin will be back in action on Monday, when it plays at Oregon City in a non-league game starting at 5 p.m.