But the Lakers step up strong after falling behind 4-0 early on Friday.
A slow start, a big comeback and a tough finish.
The Lake Oswego softball team got a lot out of its 2023 season opener — an 8-5 non-league home loss to Silverton at Lake Oswego Junior High on Friday, March 17 — and even though they didn’t get a win, the Lakers were encouraged by the many positives of the day.
“I think the effort today was pretty good,” said Lake Oswego senior pitcher Paris Richards, who allowed 12 hits and one walk while striking out six, and also went 2 for 3 at the plate with one RBI and a walk. “We know, our coaches know, all the individual players know, what we need to work on.”
“I thought we really improved from our jamborees,” said Laker senior center fielder Kyla Zhang, who went 2 for 4 at the plate with a double and one RBI. “We were really able to get the bats going this game and it’s only up from there.”
“After we started going, we started building momentum which was nice,” added LO junior catcher Camille Francis, who went 2 for 4 at the plate. “I think we’re definitely a team of momentum, so it was unfortunate that we got down, but when we’re up, we’re up which is good to see.”
With the loss, the Lakers fell to 0-1 overall. Next up, the Lakers play a non-league contest at Newberg at 5 p.m. Monday, March 20. Silverton, a Class 5A team, snapped its one-game losing streak and improved to 2-1 overall.
The Foxes were led by junior Brylie Parks (she went 2 for 4 with one RBI and one run scored), junior Kate Kofstad (she was 2 for 4 with one RBI), and sophomore Samantha Saunders (she went 2 for 3 with a double and one RBI). Sophomore pitcher McKenzee Petersen allowed 14 hits and three walks while striking out three.
Silverton started fast on Friday, scoring twice in each of the game’s first two innings, getting three hits and scoring twice in the top of the first, then adding another two runs in the top of the second — on RBIs from freshman Bella Diaz and Parks — to lead 4-0.
The Lakers answered with two runs in the bottom of the third, getting an RBI single to left field from Richards that scored senior Virginia Harmon and a run-scoring single to center by Zhang that plated sophomore Kate Stingle to bring their team within 4-2.
The Foxes added one unearned run in the third to extend their edge to 5-2, but the Lakers closed within 5-4 in the bottom of the fourth when senior Ava Brenden’s infield hit brought home two runs.
Lake Oswego stranded three runners in the fifth, but with Richards allowing just one run from the third inning to the sixth, the Lakers came back to tie the game 5-5 in the sixth. There, Francis reached base on a fielder’s choice with two outs, then scored when sophomore Macy Maxwell singled to right-center.
“It was just a mental thing,” Richards said. “I just have to go out there and be like ‘It’s me versus this batter,’ take it one batter at a time. And I know I have Cam (Francis) behind the plate ready to catch the ball and Kyla in center field and the rest of the team cheering me on. … I just have to support myself, get those outs and get those ground balls.”
But Silverton broke through to win the game with three runs in the top of the seventh inning, an at-bat that saw sophomore Hannah Houts single home one run and Kofstad drive home two more with a single to right field.
Despite the final result, the Lakers left encouraged by their efforts and what might lie ahead in 2023.
“I’m looking forward to see how everyone grows, especially having a very solid team where we can count on everyone,” Zhang said. “We’ll see how the season goes.”
“I think our defense is one of those things that just comes with the game, but I think that … (the key is) hitting,” Francis added. “We definitely would have won that game because our defense was super strong.”
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