Cavaliers win pretty, win ugly; advance in playoffs
Clackamas High Schools baseball team last week continued on a mission, dispatching with Sunset (5-0) and Grant (8-7) in the first two rounds of the 2013 Class 6A high school baseball playoffs.
The May 22 win over Grant not only advanced fourth-ranked Clackamas to a Friday (May 24) quarterfinal game with fifth-ranked Thurston (22-7), but it put the Cavaliers at 25-3 on the season, setting a new school record for most wins in a season. The old record was 24 wins, set by Clackamas teams that won state championships in 2008 (24-7) and 2010 (24-6).
The second-round game with Grant was a wild affair, with a drenching rain leading to pitcher control problems that resulted in plenty of drama as the game wound down.
Clackamas went up 6-5, scoring one run in the bottom of the sixth on a base hit by Jared Bell, a double by Austin Kelly, and a run-scoring ground ball to second by Jake Iverson.
Grant moved on top 7-6 with two runs in the top of the seventh. The Generals reached Clackamas starting pitcher Taylor Stinson (4 strikeouts, 3 walks, one hit batter) for a base hit and a walk to lead off the seventh.
Kelly took over in relief with one down in the seventh and hit the first batter to face him, loading the bases. The Generals scored the tying run on an overthrow at first on a passed ball. Following an intentional walk, Grant brought the go ahead run home on a swinging bunt, where the Cavaliers got the out at first base. Kelly then struck out the next batter to retire the side, and Clackamas coach John Arntson gathered his troops for a pep talk.
Taylor MacClanathan drew a walk to lead off Clackamas half of the seventh. Pinch runner Josh Devore advanced to third on consecutive wild pitches.
Garrett Myers drew a walk on yet another wild pitch, and Devore raced home to knot the score at 7-7, while Myers moved to second. Bell (2-for-3) walked and he and Myers both moved up on a wild pitch.
And, after an intentional walk to Kelly, Ryan Gilbert hit a ground ball to third. Myers beat the throw home, and the Cavaliers celebrated the 8-7 victory.
It was a wild and crazy rain-soaked game, said Arntson. It was an ugly win, but at this stage, well take it.
Arntson added, Its the fourth or fifth time this season weve won a game in the bottom of the seventh, so the kids went into [the bottom of the seventh] confident. When we huddled before the seventh, they had a very confident lets-get-it-done attitude.... They keep battling until the end. Theyve done that all season.
The Grant game was a battle from start to finish. The Generals scored three runs in the top of the first on a base hit, a hit batter, an error, a fielders choice and a two-out, three-run double.
Clackamas got one run back in the bottom of the first on three walks and a fielders choice. Jarrod Switzer got the RBI on a walk.
Clackamas knotted the score at 3-3 with two runs in the third, scoring on a walk, a groundout, a wild pitch, a RBI-single by Iverson and a run-scoring sacrifice fly by Switzer.
The Cavaliers took a 5-3 lead with two runs in the fourth, scoring on a triple by Cole Scruggs, a walk and a run-scoring base hit by Stinson. Scruggs scored the first run of the inning on a wild pitch.
Grant answered with two runs in the top of the fifth, scoring on a base hit, a walk, a passed ball and back-to-back run-scoring singles.
Stinson struck out four, walked three and hit one batter, while yielding seven hits in 6-1/3 innings. Four Grant pitchers combined to yield seven hits and 11 walks, while striking out four.
Cavs at the top
of their game
Clackamas High School hardballers were at the top of their game on May 20, as they opened the Class 6A playoffs with a decisive 5-0 shutout of Sunset. The Cavaliers played flawless defense behind starting pitcher Jared Bell and reliever Taylor Stinson, who together allowed only one baserunner in the seven-inning game.
Bell threw the first six innings, striking out five and walking no one in six innings of one-hit ball. Taylor Stinson made it three-up and three-down in an inning of relief. It was Bells tenth win in eleven starts this season.
Sunset got its only baserunner in the second frame, when senior infielder Preston Nelson reached on a base hit to left. Nelson advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, but was left stranded at second when the next batters were retired on a full-count called third strike and on a flyout to outfielder Ryan Gilbert in deep left.
Bell was especially sharp in the middle innings. The junior right-hander retired the side on eight pitches in the third frame, two batters on three-pitch strikeouts and a third on a routine flyout to center.
All my pitches were working real well, Bell said. I was spotting my fastball real well, and my slider was moving. My change had good down action and my curve had good movement as well. I was constantly changing my pitches up, and keeping them off balance.
Bell got help from his infielders, who made several tough chances look like routine plays. Clackamas shortstop Jake Iverson made a tremendous play to rob an Apollo of a base hit in the top of the fourth, hustling to get a ball behind the third-base bag and making the off-balance throw to first in time for the out.
That was one heck of a play by our shortstop in the fourth, said Clackamas coach John Arntson. It was major league.
I think it was the best game weve played all year, said Clackamas senior co-captain Austin Kelly. No passed balls, some great defensive plays, no errors and only one baserunner....
The Cavaliers reached Sunset ace Jake Neeson for six hits and they made their hits count, scoring four runs on four hits in the bottom of the second.
Stinson, playing designated hitter, got things started in the second with a lead-off home run down the left field line, his first of the year.
The pitch was inside and low, right where I like it, Stinson said. I didnt know [it was a home run] until the first base coach told me. I thought it was a solid line drive.
Iverson (2-or-3) followed Stinsons round-tripper with a base hit up the middle. Iverson stole second, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored on Jarrod Switzers groundout to second.
With two down, Taylor MacClanathan (2-for-3) reached on a single to right, advanced to third when Garrett Myers reached on a fielding error on a tough chance near the third-base bag, and scored on a balk. Myers than scored from second on a single to right by Bell. The Cavaliers had eleven batters in the inning.
The Cavaliers added insurance in the fourth. Switzer drew a walk on four pitches; pinch runner Nick Krska moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Gilbert and a base hit by MacClanathan, and Krska scored on a wild pitch.
We came focussed and ready to play, Stinson said. Knowing we have a goal [of a state championship] and this is just one step towards that goal.
It all comes down to our pitching and our defense, said Kelly. Weve got great pitching and our defense has been solid all year. I think we have easily one of the top defensive clubs in the state, and that takes the pressure off on offense.
Were not playing just for ourselves, Kelly added. Were playing for Arnie [Coach John Arntson], playing for [Arntsons deceased son] Jake, and were playing for the community.
Were like a brotherhood, said Switzer. Weve all become close, weve got common goals and were willing to do whatever it takes to achieve those goals.
With the win over the Apollos, the Three Rivers League champion Cavaliers upped their record to 24-3 on the 2013 season. The win advanced the Cavaliers to their May 22 second-round game with Grant (18-9).