Jesuit rallies to top Tualatin in softball battle
BEAVERTON — No, the Class 6A state softball playoffs haven't started yet.
But, that didn't stop a pair of playoff-caliber teams from battling at a postseason-like intensity.
And Jesuit came away from that intense battle with an impressive come-from-behind victory.
The Crusaders, after falling behind 3-0 early, rallied to get a 5-3 win over Tualatin in a non-league contest played Friday at Jesuit High School.
"Oh my gosh, this is huge," said Jesuit freshman Ainsley Davis, who picked up the pitching win in relief in addition to hitting a go-ahead two-run single. "This was a great game. It was two playoff-worthy teams, and I'm so happy we won."
With the loss, Tualatin moved to 20-5 on the season to that point. Jesuit improved to 17-6, at that point, with the victory.
"This game will help prepare us for the rest of the season, and the playoffs," Davis said.
The Timberwolves struck first in Friday's game, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning.
Senior Andrea Gomez got things going for Tualatin with a one-out double to left field. Gomez then moved to third base on a wild pitch. Then, after senior Emily Johansen drew a walk, Gomez scored the game's first run on a sacrifice fly by freshman Leanna Rosenbaum. Johansen then scored on a single by senior Sydney Wagner.
Junior Savannah Braun and freshman Ella Hoyle followed with back-to-back singles, with Wagner scoring in Hoyle's hit, giving the Wolves a 3-0 lead at the end of the inning.
The Crusaders got two of those runs back in the bottom of the third inning. Jesuit senior Maya Williams drew a two-out walk and freshman Georgia Corey then belted a home run over the fence in right field, cutting the Tualatin lead to 3-2.
Jesuit struck for two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior Dechen Yeshopa walked to lead off the frame. Yeshopa moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Hannah Brink and then advanced to third on a bunt single by freshman Mac Petitt. Then, after Petitt stole second base, Davis singled up the middle, driving in both Yeshopa and Petitt, giving the Crusaders a 4-3 lead.
"I was so happy that it went through," Davis said. "I had two strikes on me, so I just wanted to get the ball into play."
Jesuit got another run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Sophomore Madi Mayhew walked to lead off the frame and then she scored on a double by freshman Kacy Lyman, upping the Crusader lead to 5-3.
But there were still some dramatics to come.
With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Gomez got to first base on a Jesuit error. Johansen then ripped a line drive deep to right field. But Petitt, playing in right for the Crusaders, made a leaping, reaching run-saving catch to end the inning.
"That was huge," Davis said.
Davis then put Tualatin down in order in the top of the seventh, wrapping up Jesuit's 5-3 victory.
"That was so much fun," Davis said.
Davis, who pitched the final six and one-third innings for Jesuit, gave up no runs on four hits, while striking out one and walking two.
"I felt great," she said. "I hit my spots."
Mayhew helped lead the Jesuit offensive attack, going 2 for 2 at the plate with a walk and a run scored. Corey, Lyman and Davis had one hit apiece.
For Tualatin, Hoyle went 3 for 3 with an RBI. Wagner went 2 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI. Junior Tia Ridings, Gomez and Braun had one hit apiece. Johansen walked three times and scored a run.
Ridings, who started and finished the game for Tualatin in the pitcher's circle, gave up three runs on four hits, while striking out nine and walking two in five and two-thirds innings worked.
Both teams picked up wins on Monday. Tualatin won 11-1 at Lakeridge to clinch the Three Rivers League championship. Jesuit won 5-4 at Westview in a Metro League game. On Tuesday, the Crusaders bested West Salem 9-6 in a non-league home game.
Both squads will open the Class 6A state playoffs on Monday with first-round home games.
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