Sadie Armstrong threw more than 100 pitches to give the Portland softball team a lift Monday afternoon.

She only needed two to provide the same boost at the plate.

Armstrong pitched seven strong innings and delivered two hits as the Bulldogs defeated Thornton Academy 2-1 at Payson Park.

The victory was the third in four games for Portland (8-3), and it didn’t come easily — the Golden Trojans (6-6) cut a two-run deficit in half in the sixth and were angling for more, but an unassisted double play turned by first baseman Ainsley McCrum denied Thornton its best chance.

“We’ve been practicing so hard, every single day, and it’s really showing in the game,” Armstrong said. “It’s huge for us. They’re a solid team.”

Armstrong had a hand in both runs. Hannah Hawkes led off the bottom of the first with a double down the third-base line, and Armstrong brought her in two batters later by smacking the first pitch she saw for a single to left.


In the fourth, Armstrong got the rally started by again attacking the first pitch, roping it to left field for a double. McCrum followed two batters later with a soft single to center to make it 2-0.

“I love that first pitch,” she said. “I’m just the most impatient person in the world. I love the first pitch. … I had to get taught that. I used to wait on everything, hoping to get walked.”

Armstrong had the Trojans out of rhythm at the plate, striking out five and pitching well under pressure to strand runners in scoring position in the fourth and fifth.

“As much as she can keep batters off balance and hit her spots and her locations when she’s throwing, the more success she’s going to have,” Portland Coach Jason McLeod said. “I think she trusts her defense when they need to make plays, which is great. We made the plays when we needed to.”

The biggest one ended Thornton’s last real threat. Jess Dow singled and took second on an error, and Bailey Littlefield (2 for 3) brought home the Trojans’ run  with a single to right. Thornton was still in business after a strikeout, but Jenna Lavallee lined the ball hard to McCrum at first base, who immediately stepped on first for the double play.

“It happened really fast. I didn’t even know if I caught it at first,” McCrum said. “I definitely knew what I was doing ahead of time, but it was scary. It was fast. … It was definitely a big relief to get out of the inning after that.”


Thornton Coach Tony Miner could only shake his head.

“Sometimes you get unlucky,” said Miner, who got six innings of four-hit ball with three strikeouts from freshman Sophia Bogardus. “You finally square up a good one, and that’s what happens.”

Miner said offensive woes have plagued his team at times this season. The Trojans have been held to one run in three of their last four losses.

“It’s going to come down to us having better at-bats and getting those timely hits,” he said. “Once we do that, I think we’ll be a team nobody really wants to face come playoff time.”

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