No. 8 Gresham (12-3, 2-1) returned to its early season offensive form in its 7-4 win over Central Catholic (4-10, 1-2) in a Mt. Hood Conference league matchup on Monday afternoon at Delta Park.
“We came out swinging the bats finally,” Gresham head coach Dave Anderson said. “We’ve had a dry spell the last three or four games.”
Gresham won its first eight games of the season, scoring 80 runs during the winning streak. However, the Gophers scored just 17 runs its previous six games, compiling a 3-3 record.
“We scored two against Reynolds and one against Barlow against the same type of pitching we saw when we scored 20 against Grant and ten against Hood River,” Anderson said. “We’ve been anxious.”
The Gophers did not show that anxiousness on Monday, recording 13 hits along with numerous balls hit hard that resulted in outs.
“It’s weird how this game works,” Anderson said. “You stress put a good swing on it, hit the ball hard, and a dribbler gets things going.”
Gresham got on the board in the third inning after an Emily Rose single. Rose made her way to third base after a Central Catholic error, one of four for the Rams. Kim Espinoza, who went 2-for-4, took advantage of the mistake by driving in Rose with an RBI single to put Gresham up 1-0.
Central Catholic responded in the bottom half of the inning. The Rams scraped together three opposite way hits. Alexis Newby, who was the starting pitcher for Central Catholic, helped her own cause with an RBI double. The Rams took the lead after a wild pitch from Gresham pitcher Shianne Smith.
“She missed a couple spots and gave up hits on a couple good pitches,” Anderson said.
Then, Gresham regained the offensive fire that led to its 8-0 start to the season. The Gophers recorded five hits in the top of the fourth inning, resulting in four runs. After loading the bases with no outs, Erika Espinoza hit a sacrifice fly to center field to tie the game at two. Then, Rose came through with a two-run double down the right field line to put Gresham ahead 4-2. Dosjane’e McCloyn capped the rally with an RBI single.
“I changed around the lineup tonight,” Anderson said. “I think I’m going to stick with those one for a couple more games.”
The Gophers added two more runs, including a sacrifice fly from Rose, to go up 7-2 in the fifth inning. Gresham’s lead off hitter went 2-for-4, with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Meanwhile, Smith settled into a groove. The sophomore right-hander, a 2014 Mt. Hood Conference first-team selection, retired 11 of 12 hitters after giving up the two runs in the third inning.
“She kept them off balanced and moved the ball around the zone,” Anderson said.
Central Catholic attempted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh. Four of the Rams’ first five hitters singled, including RBI hits from Nymewae Friend and Ashley Doyle, to trim Gresham’s lead to 7-4 with just one out.
Smith got Central Catholic’s final two hitters to fly out to finish off the complete game.
Gresham moves to 2-1 in Mt. Hood Conference play and scored its most runs in a game since the eight-game winning streak.
“There should be nobody holding us under five runs from what I’ve seen,” Anderson said. “If we swing the bats, we can play with anybody and should be at the top.”
The Gophers will look to keep the bats going at Centennial on Wednesday. The Rams will try to get back to .500 in league play with a road win over Clackamas.