PORTLAND, Ore. — Pioneer pitcher Raelee Weaver lived up to her team’s motto Friday night in hurling a four-inning no-hitter against Tualatin City, Ore., in the Little League Softball World Series.
“Start fast, finish strong has been our motto, and we did that tonight,” Weaver said after Pioneer’s 11-0 victory over the host team.
Weaver struck out the side in the first inning and retired the first 10 batters — eight by strikeouts — she faced in a game that was shortened due to the mercy rule.
Meanwhile, the Pioneer offense was rolling.
Leadoff hitter Aiyana ‘’Bean’’ Taylor got things rolling by smacking a line drive under an infielder’s glove. She turned the base hit into a double when Tualatin City was slow retrieving the ball in the outfield.
“It was our first game, and that hit started the momentum and got everyone going,” Taylor said. “We got a few runs on the board and everything changed.”
She came around to score on a sacrifice grounder by Kamdyn Fuller, and Jada Chadwick followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
Pioneer added five more in the second inning, getting a series of run-scoring singles from Taylor, Weaver, Fuller and Chadwick to put the game out of reach at 7-0.
Pioneer scored four more in the fourth for an 11-0 lead. Jillian Holloway had a two-run single in the inning.
“I’m really proud of the girls. We’ve been off for a couple days and they were anxious to play,” manager Chuck Landrum said. “We puts some early runs on the board and that settled the girls down and they were able to focus and do what they do. Still, we have more games to play and good teams to matchup with.”
Weaver had a perfect game until there was one out in the fourth.
Arabella Valdez fouled off a pitch and eventually earned a full-count walk. She stole second and tried to score when a Pioneer overthrow ended up in right field.
Instead, the game ended in a flash.
Nyiah Kelley tracked down the loose ball in right field and made a quick throw to Weaver in the pitcher’s circle. A relay to Taylor behind the plate arrived several strides in front of the runner for an easy tag. Taylor alertly fired to second base and caught another runner to complete the game-ending double play.
Chadwick finished 3 for 3 at the plate with three RBIs and two runs scored, while Weaver also reached in all three of her appearances, scoring each time.
Pioneer faces Asofem out of Puerto Rico at 4 p.m. Saturday. A win would put the Georgia squad into a tie atop Pool A alongside Tallmadge, Ohio, which is idle on Saturday.
Note: The team spent its off day Thursday at the Pioneer Place shopping mall in downtown Portland, while also hunting out the famous VooDoo donut shop. Some of the families took a 40-minute side trip to visit Multnomah Falls — a towering 600-foot waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge.
Team W L RF RA
Tallmadge, OH 2 0 19 2
Columbus, GA 1 0 11 0
Asofem, Puerto Rico 1 0 7 1
Prague, Czech 0 2 2 16
Tualatin City, OR 0 2 1 21
Team W L RF RA
Robbinsville, NJ 2 0 9 0
Chico, CA 1 0 6 0
Bossier City, LA 1 0 8 1
Victoria, BC, Canada 0 2 1 11
Iloilo, Philippines 0 2 0 12
* top two teams in each pool advance
Saturday, Aug. 9
Bossier City vs. Chico, 1 p.m.
Columbus vs. Asofem, 4 p.m.
Tualatin City vs. Prague, 7 p.m.
Ilollo vs. Victoria, 10 p.m.