Mt. Hood wins its fifth softball championship in last eight years
By NWAC Sports Information Assistant, Spencer Roland
PORTLAND—For the second time in four years, the NWAC Softball Championships featured an international championship game on Monday between perennial power Mt. Hood Saints of Gresham, OR and the Douglas Royals from New Westminster, British Columbia.
Mt. Hood entered the game having already defeated Douglas the day before in a bottom of the 7th rally 5-4.
Since the tournament is double elimination, the Royals would have to defeat the Saints twice if they wanted to bring the trophy home to Canada.
After a quiet first inning, Hood struck first in the 2nd when Tiara Champ laced a 2-out single to left field that plated Courtney Cabana and Hailey Valitski for a 2-0 lead.
Mt. Hood ace Kayla Byers would not allow a hit until deep in the 3rd inning when a pair of infield singles with a combined 30 feet in distance allowed Douglas a runner in scoring position but a quick out would get Byers out of the jam.
In the 4th, It was South Region MVP Darian Lindsey smashing a 2-run home run to center to tack on to a mounting lead for the Saints.
Byers continued a strong outing and receive more help in the 5th from a solo home run from Megan Marcy.
Douglas countered with a run of their own in the bottom of the 5th from a 2-out double from right fielder Daniella Vilio.
The Royals stuck again in the 6th with the help of a Saint error to cut the lead to 5-2. However, in the 7th Hood would add some insurance from back to back RBI singles from Reeghan Lehnert and Hailey Valitski.
Byers completed her dominance of the Royals with 3 quick outs in the 7th to seal the deal for the 2016 NWAC Champion Mt. Hood Saints 7-2.
Mt Hood finishes the season with a 38-8 record (17-3) and their 5th championship, all under head coach Meadow McWhorter.
The 2nd place finish is Douglas' second in the program's six year history. The Royals also claimed runner-up in the 2013 championship under then head coach Gord Collings.
McWhorter was named the NWAC Softball Coach of the Year, her fifth honor. Saints sophomore pitcher Kayla Byers was named the Tournament MVP.
MVP - Kayla Byers, Mt. Hood
Rachel Rutledge, Mt. Hood
Megan Marcy, Mt. Hood
Courtney Cabana, Mt. Hood
Darian Lindsey, Mt. Hood
Dallas Tilley, Douglas
Laura Baldry, Douglas
Jordan Britten-Yung, Douglas
Keeley Ainge, Douglas
Tess Dixon, Bellevue
Cassidy Mast, Bellevue
Rachael Delamare, Bellevue
Kylie Gonzales, Clackamas
Emily Marchbanks, Clackamas
In the 3rd place game, it was Douglas emerging victorious over division rival and top-ranked Bellevue for the second time this tournament.
Keeley Ainge turned in a gritty performance for the Royals going the distance while scattering 10 hits for 6 runs.
Bellevue committed some untimely errors that allowed Douglas to capitalize, scoring 4 unearned runs.
The Lady Bulldogs were led by Rachael Delamare and Brianna Attwood who both blasted solo home runs.
For Douglas it was Taylor Woodward who was 2-3 with 3 RBIs and 2 runs scored.
Bellevue earns its best ever finish at the tournament (3rd). For Douglas, they would reach their 2nd championship game in 4 years (finished 2nd to Wenatchee Valley in 2013).