Wilsonville softball beats Lebanon 1-0 in Class 5A semifinals
That's all it took.
But that one run made all the difference in the world for the Wilsonville softball team, lifting the Wildcats to a 1-0 win over Lebanon in the Class 5A state semifinals at Wilsonville High School on Tuesday, May 31.
"We played well and did our jobs," said Wilsonville senior pitcher Maddie Erickson, who threw a no-hitter against the Warriors, pitching all seven innings and allowing no runs on no hits and two walks while striking out 13. "The stars are aligning for us right now and it shows. We all have each other's back and it's electrifying."
"We are feeling super excited," added Wilsonville sophomore catcher Maddie Holly, who went 1 for 3 at the plate. "We've been playing with the one game at a time mindset and now we made it to the final game."
With the win, the team's 20th straight, second-ranked Wilsonville improved to 27-3 overall after winning the Northwest Oregon Conference. No. 3 Lebanon, meanwhile, saw its five-game winning streak snapped and ended its year at 24-6 after finishing second in the Mid-Willamette Conference.
There's a couple more important "ones" in the Wildcats' future, too — next up, Wilsonville will face No. 1 Pendleton/Griswold in the Cats' first-ever 5A state championship game appearance, set for 11 a.m. Saturday, June 4, at Jane Sanders Stadium on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene.
"I think it all comes down to keeping our heads on and playing our game," Erickson said of her team's chances at victory. "It takes heart to win and we have it."
"We know we just have to play our game and find our bats to have success," Holly added. "We feel prepared because we have faced Pendleton before and we know what it takes to face their batters and face their pitchers and defense."
Erickson was dominant throughout her team's win over Lebanon, allowing just two baserunners all game — walks in the second and seventh innings — and letting just one of those advance as far as second base. Her team's defense did the rest, playing errorless ball to keep Lebanon off the scoreboard.
Offensively, it took the Wildcats a while to get going against Lebanon junior pitcher Alivia Holden, who allowed one unearned run on four hits and two walks while striking out four. Wilsonville got a leadoff single in the second inning from Holly and a one-out walk by sophomore Mary Matthews in the third, but failed to score each time.
But in the bottom of the fourth, sophomore Grace Wilson worked Holden for a two-out walk, then advanced on a wild pitch before sophomore Callie Weaving singled to left side of the infield. Weaving raced to first, and when Lebanon sophomore shortstop Alexis Mulligan's throw got away from sophomore first baseman Emma Sheets, Wilson sped home to score the game's only run.
Along with her team's stellar defense, that was all the support Erickson needed. She set the Warriors down in order in both the fifth and sixth innings, and then, after issuing a one-out walk in the seventh, got the final two outs to end the game.
"I think our defense was locked. We played a clean game which gave us the advantage," Holly said. "We found our bats sporadically through the game so we definitely could have hit better, but ultimately, we did enough to win."
Wilson and sophomore Talia Valdez added their team's other hits in the win.
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