Tigard snaps Tualatin's record winning streak
TIGARD — Well, it had to end sometime.
And, thanks to a strong pitching, defensive and offensive performance, the Tigard High School softball squad was the team to end it.
And the Tigers were pretty darn happy about.
Tigard snapped rival Tualatin's amazing 45-game winning streak by getting a 3-1 victory over the Timberwolves in a Three Rivers League game played Saturday at Tigard High School.
"We wanted to be the team that beat them, and we did it," said Tigard shortstop Maddie Hoover, the only senior on the Tiger roster. "It's amazing. They're 45-0 with their streak, and breaking it feels really good. I thought we could do it. We've been hearing about them, and their pitching, and, of course, we know about (Tualatin senior first baseman) Emily (Johansen). We wanted to come out strong. We knew with our hitting, and our defense, that we could get them."
"It means a lot, because they're No. 1," said Tigard freshman Makenna Reid, who got the pitching victory in addition to hitting a run-scoring double. "We came into it really focused, and our defense was great."
The loss was the first for Tualatin since it fell 4-3 at North Medford in a 2017 Class 6A state playoff semifinal game. The Wolves went 30-0 on their way to winning the state championship in 2018, and they were off to a 15-0 start to the 2019 season before Saturday's game at Tigard. Tualatin's 45-game winning streak is thought to be a state record.
"We couldn't go forever and ever, but we wanted to so badly," said Tualatin junior Sydney Wagner, who doubled and scored the Wolves' run in Saturday's game. "It was a good ride. But, in a way, I'm kinda glad we lost, because it's hard to be perfect."
The loss also ended Tualatin's 40-game winning streak in Three Rivers League play. Tualatin's previous league setback was a 6-4 loss at West Linn in a game played April 22, 2016.
Tualatin moved to 3-1 in TRL games (15-1 overall) with Saturday's defeat, putting the Wolves in a tie with Lake Oswego for first place in the league standings.
"I think it's like a sigh of relief at this point," Wagner said. "It was like, 'we had to be perfect.' We had to beat every single team. We did it last year. And we lost some really good seniors from last year, so we knew it would be tough. It's a rough feeling, but we have to keep going. I'm excited now. I want to see what happens next."
Tigard improved to 2-1 in TRL play (11-5 overall), putting the Tigers in third place in the league standings.
"This is another step, and we just want to keep going up from here," Hoover said. "This shows that we have heart, and that we can beat anyone."
"Now, we just need to keep fighting," Reid said. "We know we can beat any team when we put our mind to it."
Tualatin struck first in Saturday's game, getting a run in the top of the second inning. Wagner got things going with a two-out double to right-center field.
"I wasn't expecting it," Wagner said. "I had two strikes on me, and I was like, 'I better do something,' because I wanted to get on."
Timberwolf freshman Leanna Rosenbaum followed with a single to center field, driving in Wagner to give Tualatin a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Johansen ripped a leadoff line drive to deep center field, but Tigard junior Lexi Klum made a leaping catch, likely robbing Johansen of extra bases. It was one of a handful of key plays made by Tiger outfielders during the contest.
Tigard got its bats going in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman Kani Korok ignited the big inning with a one-out double off the fence in left field. Reid followed with a double of her own, driving in Korok to tie the game at 1-1.
"I was looking for a pitch down the middle, and I hit it well," Reid said. "It felt like a momentum surge for us. I saw the pitch that Kani hit, and I was looking for that same pitch."
Tiger junior Elli Dardis then made it three doubles in a row, as she hit a shot off the fence in right field. Reid scored on the hit, giving Tigard a 2-1 lead. Dardis would move to third base on a two-out single by junior Abby Soderquist, and then score on a passed ball, upping the Tigard lead to 3-1.
Tualatin, in the top of the fifth, got a one-out single by Rosenbaum. But Tigard junior catcher Emily Paulson threw out courtesy runner Nicole Webb on a stolen-base attempt, with Hoover making the tag, to end the threat.
The Tigers continued their clutch defensive play in the top of the seventh inning. With one out in the frame, Tualatin junior Bella Valdes hit a liner toward the gap in left-center field, but Klum, sprinting to her right, made a reaching catch. Tigard freshman right-fielder Eliot Miner then made a sliding catch of a foul ball, right up next to the fence in foul territory, to end the inning.
"Our outfield is super strong this year," Hoover said. "We just go all out for it, every single game."
In the top of the seventh, with two outs in the frame, Tualatin junior Savannah Braun reached first base on a Tigard error. Wagner then hit a grounder to the right side, an out was called on runner's interference, ending the game — and Tualatin's 45-game winning streak.
"It was crazy," Hoover said with a smile. "I was like, 'oh my gosh.' I had no words, it was just smiles."
"I was just really happy, because we knew we could do it, and we proved something," Reid said. "This shows that we can fight and, all around, we can do it."
Reid, it getting the complete-game pitching victory, gave up one run on three hits, while striking out eight and walking none.
"She was on top of it," Hoover said of Reid. "She was pitching hard, pitching tough and she hit her spots."
"I felt good," Reid said. "I wasn't too sure during warm-ups, but once the game started I was feeling good. Emily (Paulson) was doing a good job with the pitches."
Tigard had six hits in the contest. Soderquist went 2 for 2 at the plate. Paulson, Korok, Reid and Dardis had one hit apiece.
For Tualatin, Rosenbaum went 2 for 2 with an RBI. Wagner, with her double, had the Wolves' other hit. Tualatin junior pitcher Tia Ridings gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits, while striking out three and walking one.
"It was alright. We both put up a really good fight," Wagner said. "Some of my good friends are on that team, and I know they're really good softball players, and I knew we had to bring it."
Prior to Saturday's showdown, Tigard and Tualatin both picked up league wins on April 17.
The Wolves got a 4-0 victory over Oregon City in a game played at Tualatin High School.
Ridings threw a complete-game one-hitter, striking out nine and walking none.
Valdes doubled, scored a run and drove in two. Johansen walked four times and scored a run. Ridings, senior Andrea Gomez, Braun, Rosenbaum and senior Lily Marshall had one hit apiece.
Tigard bested West Linn 12-10 in a game played at Rosemont Ridge Middle School.
Klum went 4 for 5 at the plate in that victory, with a triple, a home run, three runs scored and three RBIs. Soderquist went 3 for 4 with a double, three runs scored and an RBI. Hoover went 2 for 4 with a triple, a run scored and four RBIs. Paulson, Reid and Dardis added two hits apiece.
On Monday, Tualatin will host West Linn at 5 p.m. and Tigard will play at Lakeridge at 6:30 p.m. in league contests. On Wednesday, Tigard host Canby in a league game starting at 5 p.m. and Tualatin will be home to face Jesuit in a 5 p.m. non-league contest.