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The Wildcats finish the first half of conference play unbeaten, then beat Putnam.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Wilsonville sophomore catcher Madeline Holly smiles as she celebrates her team's 10-0 win over Scappoose at Wilsonville High School on Tuesday, April 26.The Wilsonville softball team knew that one of its biggest season goals was on the line.

The Wildcats, hosting Scappoose in a battle of unbeaten Northwest Oregon Conference teams on Tuesday, April 26, made sure they kept that particular goal — going unbeaten in the NWOC — alive, scoring seven times in the first two innings and using that fast start to beat the Indians 10-0 at Wilsonville High School.

"Yesterday's win was great for the team," said senior second baseman Natalie Adams, who went 2 for 4 at the plate with two runs scored and one RBI. "Scappoose is … our biggest competitor in league so our win against them … really motivates the team."

"Going into the game, we knew that we had to lay runs on early on and we did just that," said junior left fielder Taylor Hadden, who went 3 for 4 at the plate with three RBIs and one run scored. "We were able to get our bats going and our defense was solid throughout the whole game."

Along with a 13-0 win over Putnam on Wednesday, April 27 — the Wildcats' eighth straight — top-ranked Wilsonville finished the first half of the league season unbeaten, improving to 8-0 in Northwest Oregon Conference play and 15-3 overall.

Seventh-ranked Scappoose, meanwhile, came back to win 4-3 at La Salle on Wednesday — its seventh win in its past eight games — and moved to 7-1 in NWOC play and 11-5 overall.

The Wildcats started fast against the Indians, getting a 1-2-3 first inning from senior pitcher Maddie Erickson and then pushing across two runs in the bottom of the frame. Adams got things going with a one-out hit, took second on an error and scored when Hadden singled to right field. Hadden advanced to second on the throw home, then scored on senior Neina-Leilani Santer's hit to make it 2-0.

Things got worse for Scappoose in the second inning, too. After Erickson stranded one runner in the top of the second, the Wildcats broke through to score five times in the bottom of the second and extend their lead to 7-0. Highlights there included sophomore Mary Matthews' two-run single through the left side, Adams' RBI single to left and a line-drive single to left by Hadden that brought home two more runs.

Gifted with a big lead, a solid defense — the Wildcats didn't commit an error in the game — and the home field advantage, Erickson was in her element. She threw all six innings for Wilsonville, shutting out the Indians on one hit and one walk while striking out 15 on just 80 pitches.

The Wildcats then tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth and one in the sixth to end the contest, with Erickson doubling to center to plate two runs in the fifth, and junior Catherine Classen doubling and scoring on a Scappoose error — one of four Indian miscues in the game — to end the game in the sixth.

"It was a big deal for the team. Beating Scappoose meant we beat every team in our league in the first round," Adams said. "The key to the win was coming together as a team and supporting each other. We were able to keep our energy up during the whole game and cheer each other on."

"Scappoose was the last team in our league we hadn't played, and they also had a lot of success prior to playing us so being able to pull out the win was very big for us," Hadden added. "Gaining momentum with our bats early in the game was key to the win. Starting early boosts our energy and overall attitude throughout the game."

For the game, the Wildcats banged out 12 hits, with Erickson going 3 for 4 with two RBIs, while Santer, Classen, sophomore Grace Wilson and Matthews added one hit each. Senior Emma Sparkman had Scappoose's lone hit — a single to center field in the second inning — while junior pitcher Jessica Nelson allowed 10 runs (eight earned) on 12 hits and three walks while striking out five.

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