Capitalizing on first inning errors, the Wildcats pressured St. Helens over the next six innings

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Senior Kailey Krueger had seven strikeouts from the mound against St. Helens, and chipped in a run and three RBIs as well. Wilsonville defeated St. Helens 5-1 on Friday, April 20. WILSONVILLE—The score was identical to the first game, and so was the result. After Wilsonville and St. Helen's softball teams clashed again on Friday, April 20, Wilsonville once again walked away with the decisive 5-1 victory over the Lions.

The win snapped a two game skid for the Wildcats, and moved Wilsonville to 7-8 overall, 3-5 in the Northwest Oregon Conference. St. Helens fell to 4-10 overall, and 3-5 in league play. In the conference title hunt, Wilsonville sits one place above St. Helens at fifth place.

"It's awesome, it's great when the kids play together," Wilsonville head coach Steve Harms said. "I believe we had one error in the field, and when they play a clean game it's a great game to watch."

The first inning was what really got the momentum going in Wilsonville's favor. After walking a batter in the first inning, Kailey Krueger did not give up any bases the rest of the inning. The Wilsonville defense forced two outs at first base, and a fly-out in right field.

In the bottom of the first, St. Helens gave up a single to senior Lauryn Seibel and hit sophomore Emily Harms while she was at bat. With two runners on base and Krueger at bat, a pass ball allowed Seibel and Harms to advance to third and second respectively. Krueger cracked the next pitch, and a subsequent error allowed her two teammates to round the bases and score. Krueger was tagged out at second base. Krueger finished the game with three RBIs, one run, and one hit.

"I think when we get ahead early it's just easier for us to play because we don't have that stress of like, 'Oh now we to catch back up,'" Krueger said, who had seven strikeouts from the mound. "It's easier for us to get more runs while we're ahead."

The next two innings were scoreless for both teams, but in the bottom of the fourth inning Wilsonville once again got on the scoreboard. After getting on base when struck again by a pitch, Harms made her way around the bases and was brought in by a sacrifice hit from sophomore Maryssa Miller. Harms would score one more run in the game.

Wilsonville was on its way to shutting out St. Helens in the fifth inning as well. The Wildcats forced another St. Helens zero up on the board thanks to a diving catch made by sophomore Jasmine Vega. Vega made the run in to catch a bunt pop up. SPOKESMAN PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Sophomore Jasmine Vega connects on a St. Helens pitch. Vega had one hit, and contributed a diving save to close out the top of the fifth inning.

"I was taking it one step at a time," Vega said. "I didn't know if it was going to be up in the air or down on the ground."

St. Helens made sure it was not a shutout in the top of the sixth inning. The Lions picked up two hits right off the bat, getting junior Taylor Dow and senior Kortney Smith on base. Dow scored on a sacrifice hit courtesy of freshman Jasmyne Pense.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Harms and Krueger would round the bases, and after giving up no runs in the top of the seventh inning, the game was settled. Wilsonville had the W, 5-1.

"We've been talking about playing loose and playing under pressure," Harms said. "It's a pressure game, and we hit the ball hard and it bounces off players and that's what gets kids on base, it's what scores runs."

Wilsonville moves on to play at Parkrose (10-5) on Monday, April 23. St. Helens goes on the road to face Sandy (6-9).

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