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Stenson’s walk-off homer gives Lower Columbia a split with Mt. Hood

With first place at stake in the South Region, the dominant forces of Mt. Hood and Lower Columbia finally meet for their scheduled doubleheader Wednesday at Tam O’Shanter Park after Saturday’s games were rained out.

Lower Columbia needed a sweep to take control of the South, but instead settled for a dramatic split to extend the region title battle into the final games of the season. The Red Devils lost Game 1 3-0, then rallied from 5-2 on a walkoff homer by Sawyer Stenson to win Game 2.

Stenson broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning when she reached Mt. Hood starter Camille Schmitz to the yard for a three-run shot with one out. Earlier in the inning, LCC freshman Lexi Grumbois delivered the tying run when she singled for Maliyah Twitty.

Grumbois finished the game 3 for 3 with a walk and two runs scored. Stenson went 1 for 3 with four RBIs and Leanna Russell was 2 for 3. The win ended the Saints’ 10-game winning streak.

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Lower Columbia was stymied by Mount Hood’s pitching all day. In the nightcap, Schmitz held LCC to one run on five hits and three walks in the first six innings as the Saints clung to a 2-1 lead.

Mt. Hood scored a run in each of the fifth and sixth innings to claim a 2-1 lead late against the Red Devils. Lower Columbia’s Sadie Knutson was great from the circle through six innings of work, holding a 1-0 LCC lead as long as she could against a Mt. Hood team that was 38-2 after winning in Game 1. Knutson allowed just two runs. on seven hits and three walks in six innings before being relieved by Alli Heater.

The comeback in Game 2 was crucial after the Red Devils dropped the opener after being knocked out by Bella Carazo.

The Saints got behind Teeghan Reams in the first inning when Peyton Foreman hit a three-run homer with two outs to open a 3–0 lead. That lead was all the right-handed Carazo needed to give Mount Hood an inside-the-circle win.

The freshman from Bonney Lake was nearly untouchable Wednesday as she held a vaunted LCC offense to just two hits in the region victory. Carazo yielded two hits while walking six and striking out nine over seven shutout frames.

Lower Columbia’s hits came from Lexi Grumbois and Leanna Russell. Grumbois finished the day 4 for 4 with four walks, raising her average to .613. She had not retired once in eight trips to the plate. Unfortunately for the Red Devils, the team couldn’t find a way to bring her home.

Lower Columbia (36-9, 20-4 league) remains in the hunt for a league title with two games remaining in the regular season. It heads to southwestern Oregon for a doubleheader on Friday at noon. It will probably have to sweep and pray for one Mount Hood loss to Centralia to split the title, and two losses to take the title outright.