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Tualatin rains on Clackamas parade

A rain-greased ball and pitcher control problems spell defeat in a second-round playoff loss to the Timberwolves


by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Clackamas players head for the dugout after their long first inning with Tualatin. Pictured are (from left) McKenzie Giancola, Melissa Noble, Vanessa Oakden, Madisen Vrabel and Rachel Atchison.Tualatin’s softball team and the weather on West Linn’s Rosemont Ridge softball field rained on an otherwise successful season for the Clackamas Cavaliers on May 22, as the Cavaliers bowed out of the Class 6A high school softball playoffs with an 11-1 loss to the seventh-ranked Timberwolves in a second-round game of the playoffs.

Few expected the tenth-ranked Cavaliers to experience the success they had this season, after they had graduated three outstanding infielders — including all-state pitcher Sam Gutwig — from their 2012 ball club. But the Cavaliers worked hard and accomplished a lot, successfully defending their Three Rivers League title, finishing with a 21-7 record and advancing to the second round of the state playoffs. This is only the fifth time that a Clackamas softball team has won a league title and only the third outright league title for the school in softball. Clackamas teams were outright league champions in 1999 and in 2012, and they were co-champions with Putnam in 2000 and in 2001.

Relentless, record rain and record cold for the date led to a poor start to the game for the Cavaliers in last week’s five-inning playoff loss to the Timberwolves.

The Wolves put the game away in the first inning, when Cavalier pitcher control problems due to the weather led to eight Tualatin first-inning runs. The Wolves scored the first-inning runs on six walks, a hit batter, three singles, a sacrifice fly and two fielder’s choices.

Five of the runs were scored off of starting pitcher Amanda Zehr, who walked four of the first five batters to face her. Prior to the game, Zehr had given up only 17 walks in 87 innings, an average of one walk every five innings.

The Cavaliers continued to battle after the suspect start, but they struggled to get timely hitting, while Tualatin ace Emily Sorem (10 strikeouts, 4 hits) scattered five walks and two hit batsman. Clackamas left the bases loaded in the first, second and fourth innings; and the Cavaliers left two runners stranded in the third stanza.

“One bad inning doesn’t define the whole season,” said Clackamas senior Vanessa Oakden. “We’ve had a great year. And [our poor showing in this game] falls on the entire team, not just the pitchers. We didn’t score until the fourth inning, we left a lot of people on base, and we had some called third strikes....

“To pull together and repeat as league champions, after the rough start we got to the season, that says a lot about our team. I’m very proud of this team, and I’m glad I got to be a part of it.”

“We have a strong program and I have no doubt they can come back and make it a 3-peat next year,” said senior Melissa Noble. “They’ll have no problem finding people who can step up and fill the seniors’ shoes.”

“We’ve got a lot of sophomores on the team and I think they’ve got the drive to make it a 3-peat next year and a 4-peat the year after,” Oakden said.

The Cavaliers started five sophomores in the Tualatin game.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t throw more strikes in the first inning....,” said Clackamas coach Dave Just. “But I’m real proud of these girls. Back-to-back Three Rivers League championships. That hasn’t been done in awhile.”

Sophomore outfielder Ashley Filler led the Cavaliers at the plate in last week’s game with the Timberwolves, going 2-for-2, with two singles and a walk. Sophomore infielder Cassie Haehlen singled to right field, and Noble hit an infield single.

Clackamas pitchers Zehr and Madisen Vrabel combined for two strikeouts, seven walks and two hit batters, while yielding five hits.

The win advanced the Pacific Conference runner-up Timberwolves (24-4) to a May 24 state quarterfinal game at Pacific Conference champion and second-ranked Glencoe (26-1).

The Cavaliers had eight seniors on their playoff roster: Oakden (catcher), Noble (outfield), Sydney Wilson (outfield), Sydney Opoka (outfield), Mariah Scholes (first base), Allie Anderegg (infield), Jessica Engle (infield) and Rachel Atchison (pitcher).

Rounding out the roster were: juniors Vrabel and Corey Erickson (catcher); and sophomores Zehr, Filler (outfield), Sammy Haehlen (outfield), Cassie Haehlen (infield), McKenzie Giancola (infield) and Jade Haehlen (infield).

Starters in the Tualatin game were: Zehr at pitcher, Oakden at catcher, Scholes at first, Cassie Haehlen at second, Giancola at shortstop, Vrabel at third, Sammy Haehlen in left field, Filler in center, Noble in right and Anderegg as designated hitter.

The Cavaliers had a .317 team batting average on the 2013 season, led by Scholes (.485), Filler (.426), Giancola (.374), Oakden (.373) and Noble (.346).

Giancola led the team in RBI (28) and extra base hits (15), and she hit four home runs. Filler led the team in runs scored, with 30.

Noble had 26 runs scored, 21 RB and she hit four home runs; Oakden scored 20 runs and drove in 18 runs.

The Cavaliers were impressive in their May 20 state playoff opener, as they rallied around timely hitting, flawless defensive play and the pitching of Zehr and Vrabel to knock of Newberg, 7-2.

Zehr and Vrabel combined to strike out four and they issued no free passes, while yielding just four hits. Zehr and her teammates retired the Tigers in order in the first three innings.

Clackamas struck early on offense, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second on a timely three-bagger by Ashley Filler (2-for-3, triple, double, 4 RBI).

The Cavaliers loaded the bases on walks by Mariah Scholes and Allie Anderegg and an error on a sacrifice bunt by McKenzie Giancola (2-for-3, two-home run, 2 runs). Filler followed with her three-run triple, and the Cavaliers were in the driver’s seat.

Newberg got two runs back in the top of the fourth on a pair of hits and two run-scoring groundouts.

And the Cavaliers put the game away in the sixth frame, scoring four more runs on four hits and a walk. Vanessa Oakden got things started in the sixth with a lead-off double.

Mariah Scholes followed with a well-hit single, scoring pinch runner Sydney Opoka. Giancola’s two-run home run over the fence in left made it 6-0 Clackamas. Pinch hitter Jessica Engle drew a walk, and Filler bought the seventh run around with a two-out double.




Local Weather

Light Rain

46°F

Clackamas

Light Rain

Humidity: 86%

Wind: 10 mph

  • 20 Dec 2014

    Rain 53°F 53°F

  • 21 Dec 2014

    Light Rain 54°F 47°F