As the rain poured down and the Union High School girls softball team put two runs up on the scoreboard in the first inning, the Camas Papermakers realized its for real now.
The league games have started. Every pitch, at-bat and inning is important from here on out.
“I thought, ‘Wow! What a start to league.’ But I had no doubt in my mind that we would come back and score more runs than they did,” said pitcher Katie Schreoder.
“We knew we had to get the outs, get back in the dugout and start over,” added second baseman Emma Jimenez. “Just hold them and put runs up every inning.”
Camas outperformed its rival from the west side of Lacamas Lake and walked off the home field with a 10-8 victory. Schroeder knocked in five runs on an RBI single, fielder’s choice and a 3-run double.
“It’s nice to be able to give myself some run support, but I couldn’t do it without my teammates,” she said. “They had to get on base. It was just good timing.”
Jimenez added a single, double and a 2-run triple.
“I wasn’t aiming for anything. I just wanted to make sure we got those runs in,” she said. “These games aren’t going to be easy. You have to fight to the end.”
Allie Hancock nailed a triple with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. Schroeder sent Hancock home with an RBI single. She then went back out on the mound and retired the next six Titans in a row.
Jimenez’s 2-run triple in the third inning put the Papermakers in the driver’s seat 3-2. McKinley Johnson knocked Jimenez in on a sacrifice fly to right field to make it 4-2 Camas.
Mo Spieth led off the fourth inning for Union with a home run. Schreoder continued to trust her pitching mechanics and the defense behind her.
“They’re a great hitting team, but I have a great defense,” she said. “I wasn’t too worried. I knew everything was going to be fine.”
Table setters Tori O’Neill and Maddie Neely both beat throws to first base for infield hits to begin the bottom of the fourth inning. O’Neill scored an insurance run on a pass ball. Schreoder hit a slow ground ball and Neely headed home. Neely slid past the catcher and the Papermakers were up by three.
Camas loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth inning, and Schreoder cleared them with a drive to the fence. Union scored two runs in the sixth inning and three in the seventh, but the Papermakers never relinquished their lead.
“It’s nice when you can score runs late and put the pressure on them,” said Camas head coach Ken Nidick. “To Union’s credit, they fought back. They have girls who can put the ball in play. And when you do that, a lot of great things can happen.”
Nidick said the stakes have been raised for the rematch at Union High School. Evergreen, Mountain View, Skyview, Heritage and Battle Ground are also on the horizon after spring break. On Wednesday, the Papermakers proved they are a force to be reckoned with.
“We showed that we’re here to compete, and that we’re ready for the season,” Jimenez said. “The intensity that both of these teams have shined through today. It turned out to be a great game.”