Clackamas coach Dave Just says the Cavaliers are still putting the pieces together

Last week was a tough week for Clackamas' softball team, as untimely errors cost the Cavaliers in losses to Class 6A powerhouse Central Catholic (5-1) and to Sandy (5-4), the top-ranked team in Class 5A.

Central Catholic earned only a 6-4 edge in hitting and only two of the Rams' five runs were earned; Sandy had only one earned run. The Cavaliers had two errors in each game.

Ram ace Katie Barron recorded 11 strikeouts in last Thursday's game at Central Catholic. McKenzie Giancola (2-for-3) reached Barron for two hits and drove in Clackamas' only run in the top of the sixth. Ashley Filler and Maddy Oakden also had base hits in the loss.

Leading 2-0, the Rams put the game away with a three-run fifth inning.

Madisen Vrabel pitched for Clackamas, striking out four, walking one, and yielding six hits.

Sandy strung together six hits with Clackamas miscues to score four runs in the top of the third for a 5-0 lead.

The Cavaliers rallied late and nearly pulled out the win. Giancola made solid contact for a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth and Jade Haehlen followed with a run-scoring single to trim Sandy's lead to 5-3.

Cassie Haehlen (2-for-3, 2 runs scored) pounded a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh, but it proved too little, too late.

Vrabel was sharp in four innings of relief pitching, striking out four, walking two and yielding three hits, while holding the visiting Pioneers scoreless.

Clackamas batters only struck out four times, but Sandy's ace held the Cavaliers to just four hits.

The win over Clackamas was the seventh straight game without a loss for the Pioneers, who are the defending state champions in 5A.

“We'll be alright,” said Clackamas coach Dave Just. “We've been seeing some really good pitching, and we're still a work in progress.... My plan is still to put our nine best hitters on the field.”

Clackamas (3-5) gets its final tuneup for the Three Rivers League season this Thursday, when the Cavaliers play Forest Grove on the road. Clackamas begins league play on Monday, hosting Lake Oswego (2-6).

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