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by Mike Weber | Correspondent
Portland, Ore. - The Ohio state and East Regional champion Tallmadge softball team improved to 2-0 at the Little League Softball World Series with a 9-1 win over the European champion Prague, Czech Republic squad Aug. 8 at Alpenrose Stadium in Portland, Ore.
Pitcher Hallie Mullett threw a two-hitter, with nine strikeouts and two walks to help lead Tallmadge (13-1 overall) to the victory on day two of the 10-team, eight-day Major Division (age 12-and-younger) tournament.
"I was just trying to throw my best and get some strikeouts to try and help my team win," said Mullett, who utilized a changeup, curveball and fastball to keep batters off balance. "My teammates all backed me up well by playing great defense too."
Tallmadge, guided by manager Nick Dadich, is scheduled to play its next game Aug. 10 at 10:30 p.m. Tallmadge is set to be the Southeast Region champs of Columbus, Georgia.
"We'll face a really good Georgia team on Sunday," said Dadich, whose team visited the Oregon Coast Thursday after a 10-1 opening game win over Oregon.
"It's just like any other sport, where the longer teams are playing into the season, they will continue to improve. They have some good pitchers, so we'll have our hands full. After a day off Saturday, hopefully all the girls will get a good nights rest and they'll all play their best on Sunday."
Tallmadge took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, highlighted by a two-run double by Lauren Tecca (2-for-2, 3 runs batted in).
Tallmadge increased the margin to 3-0 in the second when Mullett hit a leadoff single and later scored, aided by a Prague error.
"When they scored their first run, it really kind of made us feel rather nervous," said Tecca. "We were able to get some big hits though to help us get a large lead later in the game."
After a scoreless third, Prague came back to score a run in the fourth, capitalizing on two Tallmadge errors to make it 3-1 in the top of the fourth.
Tallmadge answered by scoring once in the bottom half to the frame, making it 4-1. Tallmadge took control of the contest with a five-run fifth, highlighted by run-scoring singles by Tecca, Mullett and Kenna Loveless, while building a 9-1 lead.