They hang with three top teams as they improve to 7-1-1 on the season

The Clackamas Cavaliers continued tough in baseball last week, holding their own with three top 10 teams.

The Cavaliers, who entered play this week ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll and fourth in the OSAA rankings, last week battled second-ranked Tualatin to a 1-1 tie, dropped eighth-ranked Westview 2-0, and won an 8-7 barnburner from sixth-ranked West Salem.

“I think we’re playing pretty good baseball,” said Clackamas coach John Arntson. “I’m especially pleased with the way we played last week. We faced three teams ranked in the top 10 in the coaches poll and faced really good pitching, and played well.”

Last week’s game with Tualatin went just over eight innings before the umpires called the game because of darkness.

Tualatin’s only run was unearned, as the Timberwolves took advantage of a Cavalier miscue to put one run up in the top of the fourth.

Clackamas answered with a single tally in the bottom of the sixth. Danny Houf reached on a base hit, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Garrett Myers and a groundout by Aaron Ahlstrom, and scored on a passed ball.

Josh Devore (2-for-3) led the Cavaliers to a 7-4 advantage in hitting.

Jared Bell pitched the first eight innings for Clackamas, striking out four and walking two. Elliott Cary struck out Tualatin’s first batter in the ninth, and then the game was called.

The Cavaliers faced two Tualatin pitchers, striking out only four times and walking four times.

“I thought Jared Bell pitched really well for us,” said Arntson. “We made some errors, but we did a really good job against their pitcher — Bennett. He’s headed to OSU.... It’s my hope that we pick up where we left off and finish the game as a suspended game at some point.”

Taylor Stinson pitched a 3-hitter in last Friday’s 2-0 shutout of Westview.

Stinson fanned nine and walked three batters in his first complete game of the season.

“Taylor was throwing three pitches for strikes, locating and hitting his spots,” said Arntson. “He pitched a great game!”

Cade Wilkins was the offensive hero for the Cavaliers, driving in the game’s only runs with a timely two-out blast up the middle in the bottom of the fifth.

Cory led off the fifth with a single, Stinson walked, the runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Devore and a passed ball. Wilkins then followed up a strikeout with his two RBI game-winner.

Cary went 3-for-3 at the plate, as the Cavaliers reached Westview’s ace for seven hits, while striking out five times and walking once.

“He was a really good pitcher,” Arntson said. “He threw really hard. In the mid-80s.”

The Cavaliers battled from behind in Saturday’s 8-7 win over West Salem. The Titans combined three hits with five walks and an error to put five runs on the scoreboard in the second inning.

Trailing 6-1, the Cavaliers bounced back with a 4-run rally in the fourth frame and a two-run rally in the bottom of the sixth, knotting the score at 7-7.

The Titans blinked in the last of the seventh to hand the Cavaliers the win. Bell walked to lead off the inning; pinch hitter James Watts sacrificed Bell to second; and Bell scored from second when a Titan infield overthrew first base on ground ball to third.

Cole Scruggs led Clackamas at the plate, going 2-for-2 and driving in three runs. He had a two-run double in the fourth frame.

Cary pitched the first 1-1/3 innings and struggled, walking five batters.

Devore, in 4-2/3 innings of relief, struck out three, walked two and scattered seven hits, while allowing two runs.

Ahlstrom pitched in the seventh frame, facing only four batters.

Three West Salem pitchers combined for seven strikeouts, while walking seven batters and yielding seven hits.

“The game was a little sloppy, with off-and-on rain,” said Arntson. “But I liked the way our kids battled back after getting behind early. They were resilient. They kept their composure and kept battling and found a way to win.”

The Cavaliers play Barlow on the road this Thursday in their final tuneup for the Three Rivers League season. They play Oregon City in a three-game series next week, playing two games on the road.

Clackamas entered play this week boasting an impressive .335 team batting average. Leading the charge were Cary (.667, 18-for-27), Devore (.462) and Ahlstrom (.423).

Cary was 8-for-8 on stolen bases; Ahlstrom was 6-for-7 on stolen bases; the Cavaliers had 28 stolen bases as a team.

Stinson, with last week’s win, improved his season record to 3-0. He has 14 strikeouts and a 0.00 ERA in 15 innings of work.

Bell (1-1) has 14 strikeouts in 18 innings and a 1.16 ERA.

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