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Despite 4-5 record, Canby showing strong defense and pitching entering league play

HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Canby senior Jake Johnston eyes a ball as it crosses over home plate. Canby lost to Wilsonville 3-0 to wrap up its preseason with a 4-5 record. Canby's baseball team is off to a solid start. Despite having a sub .500 record heading into the regular season, the Cougars have been competitive in nearly every contest thus far. Other than suffering a 19-9 blowout loss to West Albany, Canby has been within three runs in each game of the season.

The Cougars competed in the Tigard Tournament over the first part of the high school's spring break, and came out of the four game stretch 1-3. After dominating Liberty High School by a margin of 11-4, the Cougars dropped subsequent contests to Oregon City and Central Catholic 1-2 and 1-3 respectively. The final game of the series saw the Cougars take on the Wilsonville Wildcats. Both teams sat at 4-4 heading into the contest.

In a particularly tough first inning for the Cougars, Wilsonville went up 2-0 and sat on the lead over the course of the game. Over the next five innings Canby would be solid defensively, keeping the Wildcats off of the scoreboard with solid fielding and tracking down balls in the outfield for outs.

HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Junior Sean Wiese pitched a solid game Wilsonville on Wednesday, March 28. It was close, but not enough, as the Wildcats bested the Cougars 3-0. "There wasn't anything we could have done differently in that first inning to mitigate their scores," Canby baseball coach JJ Stolsig said. "(Junior) Sean (Wiese) has been really good, he's had a good start so far. A couple of times he got behind guys and they put a good bat on it. You have to give them credit for that. I thought defensively we were okay." HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Sophomore Cayden Delozier catches a ball at first base to tag out a Wilsonville runner. Wilsonville defeated Canby 3-0 on Wednesday, March 28.

Wilsonville managed to put another run on the scoreboard at the top of the seventh inning, and at the end of the game Canby had dropped its third straight contest. All three of those games were tight, and Stolsig is trying to get his team over that hump.

"I think a lot of times, if you're used to winning, you win a lot of those close games," Stolsig said. "We're still trying to learn that part. But we picked up four wins, and I told the guys I'm pretty excited about that and how we're pitching and playing defense. Start getting a few guys feeling comfortable at the plate, we'll see more runs put up which will put a few more games in our favor."

Canby begins its league season with a pair of games against Lake Oswego. Entering into the season, Canby sits one spot ahead of the Lakers in the Three Rivers League in fifth place. Lake Oswego is 3-2 at the end of its preseason run, and has allowed just nine runs against it. For Stolsig and the Cougars, victory is always a possibility if they play to their strengths.

"I think we stack up good against anybody," Stolsig said. "If we're able to pitch like we have and play defense like we have, and at least get a few more hard hit balls, I told the guys we can beat anybody, and anybody can beat us. It's just a matter of if we decide to show up with those three facets of the game: defense, pitching, and hitting."

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