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The Cougars have won three straight contests as they continue forward in preseason play

HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Kamryn Mobley swings at a pitch against Liberty. Canby defeated Liberty High School 12-9. The Canby Cougars softball team may have hit its stride over the course of a week away from school. After participating in the Glencoe Tournament at Hillsboro Stadium on Thursday and Friday, March 29 and 30, the team walked away with a 3-1 record after four games.

After falling to Glencoe 2-5, the girls picked up victories over The Dalles 6-4, Liberty High School 12-9, and most impressively against Aloha 15-4.

Putting big numbers up against opponents has been pivotal to the team's success so far. Only against a team made up of players from The Dalles, South Wasco County, Dufur, and Sherman, did the Cougars fail to get double digits on the scoreboard. Coach Jennifer Peterson has highlighted big numbers as one of the team's keys to victory.

"I'm very happy with how well all of our girls are hitting right now," Peterson said. "I told the girls at the beginning of the season we need to score 10 to 11 runs every game if we are going to win games and we've done that in five of our six wins. In our loss against Glencoe our girls did a great job of holding them to only five runs. Glencoe is a good team with a lot of girls that play high level travel ball in the summer and it was a close game for a while."

Part of that scoring success has come off of singles and doubles batted in, but against Liberty the scoring was upped. Senior Cassidy Posey scored a home run against the Metro League school, a first for the short stop.

HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - The Cougars softball team celebrates senior Cassidy Posey after she hits her first high school homerun against Liberty High. "(Posey) is one of our more consistent hitters but not necessarily a power hitter," Peterson said. "She hits a lot of singles and doubles for us."

One of the other keys to Canby's success was athletes stepping up and into the role of pitcher. So far, those that have taken to the mound have performed admirably. With a solid defense behind them in the field, Peterson has faith that the team will do well in the league season to come.

"I think over all our pitchers have done a pretty good job considering none of them pitched at a varsity level last year," Peterson said. "Teams haven't been crushing the ball off of them so that's a good thing. They are doing their job and hitting their spots which is what we have asked of them. Let the other team put the ball in play and we'll play solid defense behind our pitchers, they don't need to strike everyone out."

Defensively, Canby is in the middle of the Three Rivers League in terms of runs allowed. The team has given up 47 runs, fourth least behind Tigard, Tualatin, and West Linn. As the season begins in earnest, it will be a point of emphasis for the Cougars. Peterson is confident though that the leaders of her team will step in where they are needed.

"Defensively we have a few things to work on before league starts, but Cassidy Posey and Emily Hewitt have been solid for us at middle infield this year and their leadership rubs off on the younger girls," Peterson said. "We are still moving girls around into positions for preseason trying to figure out who our actual starters are come league play, but (Kamryn Mobley), Cass and Em have been playing so good for us this year and their leadership has helped the other girls feel more comfortable in positions they don't normally play."

Canby will need to be on their A game when they continue on in preseason play against the Barlow Bruins (5-4), after the Herald goes to press.

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