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Slow start strangles Southridge softball in defeat


by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Southridge senior second baseman Kylie Kushiyama tries to turn a double play versus West Linn.

Judge Southridge’s sluggish 7-2 loss to West Linn on Friday as an anomaly.

With off-the-field impending weekend distractions weighing on the Skyhawks’ minds, Southridge didn’t quite resemble the softball team that started the season with a 6-1 record and 57 runs.

“Today was a little lethargic,” said co-head coach Rob Ray. “There’s a lot going on this weekend and tonight, so I think that was on their minds. But, we just need to learn how to compete, put some of the stuff to the side and play like we’re supposed to play. It’s more on effort. It’s not that they can’t do it. It was just one of those days.”

Southridge only had six hits on the afternoon and couldn’t really animate the bats until the latter innings when shortstop Sophie Herman drove in a run with an RBI double. Freshman catcher Brooke Johnson raked a double over the Lions’ rightfielder’s head that plated Jenna Kelly and brought the deficit down to 7-2.

“I don’t know if we came prepared for it,” said Kelly. “We might have just underestimated them a little bit. They kind of caught us by surprise.”

“I don’t think we were fully there today,” added Johnson. “But, they came out hot and they were ready to play. I feel like we got some good hits. We were trying to put the ball in play.”

West Linn, on the other hand, was crisp, loading the bases in the second and third innings with the help of a pair of Skyhawk errors and solid hitting that gave the Lions a 5-0 lead.

Admittedly, the non-league home contest wasn’t Southridge’s best sample of what’s been a stellar preseason. The Lions entered the game licking their wounds, sporting a meager 1-6 record. West Linn took advantage of a distracted Skyhawk team, though Southridge agreed any other given day the outcome would’ve been different.

“We didn’t come out as strong as we wanted to, but I think if we played them again we could really compete,” said senior third baseman Erin Bonzer. “Our bats weren’t there today. We hit it directly to a lot of people, but that’s not going to happen every time.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Southridge outfielder Matlyn Miller camps under a fly ball in center field against West Linn on Friday.

“We all have our off days sometimes,” added senior second baseman Kylie Kushiyama. “Today we didn’t come through like we wanted to, but next time if we play them, we can come back and win. We just kept cheering on and trying to keep each other up.”

Bonzer said West Linn’s pitcher had a different spin on the softball that took a couple of innings to adjust to. And, when Southridge did connect with the tailing fastballs, the Lions’ defense seemed to be in the right place at the right time to get a glove on the Skyhawks’ knocks.

“That started to frustrate everybody,” said Bonzer. “But, we started to bounce back in the end. We got a couple runs on the board. We have strong hitting. It didn’t really show tonight, but we’ve scoring a lot of runs lately.”

Southridge was able to keep West Linn’s scoring to a minimum later in the contest when Bonzer and Johnson hooked for a pair of fielder’s choices with the bases loaded in the fourth, and Herman snared a Lion line drive for the third out. Left-handed pitcher Morgan Penn came on in the sixth in relief of Kalee Mabry and escaped a bases loaded jam. Penn retired the side in the seventh, but the Skyhawks couldn’t put any numbers on the scoreboard to seal their second loss of the season.