Clackamas improves to 12-1-1, sweeping its three-game league series with Oregon City

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Clackamas second baseball Danny Houf celebrates a huge inning-ending double play in fifth inning of Fridays 4-3 win over Oregon City. Oregon City had the bases loaded with one out when Aaron Ahlstrom snagged a line drive at shortstop and tossed the ball to Houf covering second base in time to catch Jalen Satter off the bag for the third out of the inning.The Clackamas Cavaliers last week continued as one of the top high school baseball teams in the state, pushing their season record to 12-1-1 with a three-game series sweep of Oregon City in the first week of Three Rivers League play.

Ranked No. 3 in the state in the OSAA Class 6A power rankings, the Cavaliers continued unbeaten against teams from Oregon, dropping Oregon City 12-2, 12-1 and 4-3.

Friday’s 4-3 win was the only game of last week’s series in which the Cavaliers did not dominate. The contest went to an extra inning, with the Cavaliers pulling it out with a single tally in the top of the eighth.

“I think we overlooked them,” Clackamas coach John Arntson said of Friday’s win. “We didn’t come out with the right mindset. We were fortunate to sneak out of there with a win. Hopefully we learned a lesson. You can’t overlook anyone, even if you’ve beaten them before.”

Hero honors on Friday went to Taylor Stinson, who squeezed in the winning run.

Cole Scruggs led off the top of the eighth with a base hit. Pinch runner Hayden Kirsch moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jared Bell, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored when Stinson laid down a pitcher perfect suicide squeeze bunt between Oregon City’s pitcher and third base. There was no play at the plate on the game-winning bunt.

Clackamas put some early runs on the scoreboard and appeared to have the game in hand, until Oregon City went to work in the bottom of the fifth. The Pioneers loaded up the bases on back-to-back singles by Terrel Hood, Tyler Sheldon and Clay Valenzuela-Reece. Jalen Satter drew a walk to force in a run.

Trevor Martin’s ground ball to shortstop off of reliever Luke Burns brought a second run across, making it a 3-2 ball game. Following a walk that reloaded the bases, Oregon City’s next batter hit a line drive to Clackamas shortstop Aaron Ahlstrom. Ahlstrom handled the line shot and turned a double play, tossing the ball to Danny Houf at second base, and ending the inning without additional damage being done.

But the Pioneers weren’t through. They plated a third run in the bottom of the sixth, knotting the score at 3-3 and forcing the extra inning.

Clackamas scored two runs in the first inning, on a leadoff double by Garrett Myers, a couple of groundouts, and RBI-singles by Elliott Cary (2-for-3) and Bell.

The Cavaliers added their third run in the fourth. Bell singled, advanced on a groundout by Cade Wilkins and a base hit by Josh Devore, and scored on a base hit by Taylor MacClanathan.

Ahlstrom pitched the first four-plus innings for Clackamas, striking out five and walking one, while allowing seven hits and two runs. Burns finished up in relief, striking out three, walking two and yielding just one hit and one unearned run.

Freshman Caden Hennessy went the first seven innings for Oregon City, striking out two, walking two and allowing five hits.

Oregon City earned an 8-7 edge in hitting in the 4-3 Cavalier win.

Clackamas’ earlier games with Oregon City were a different story. The Cavaliers outhit the Pioneers 11-4 and took advantage of 11 walks in the 12-2 win; and Clackamas outhit Oregon City 8-2 and the Cavaliers took advantage of four Oregon City errors in the 12-1 victory. Only six Clackamas runs were earned in the 12-1 win.

Myers (2-for-4), Ahlstrom (2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI), Burns (2-run triple) and Michael McDonald (3 RBI) headed the offensive assault in the 12-2 victory.

Bell pitched five innings, allowing just one hit and no walks and no runs, while striking out three.

“Jared Bell was very good and we swung the bats well,” said Arntson. “We got hits up-and-down the lineup. Nine different guys got hits.”

Scruggs (3-for-3, 4 runs scored), Wilkins (2-for-3, 4 RBI, 3-run double) and Bell (2-for-3, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 2 runs) had big days at the plate in the 12-1 win.

Stinson pitched the first five innings, striking out three and walking one, while allowing two hits and one earned run.

Arntson said that Bell and Wilkins played a pivotal roll in breaking the game open early.

With two down in the first, Bell fought off 10 pitches for a bases loaded walk that forced in the game’s first run. Wilkins followed with a bases clearing double, and the Cavaliers were in the driver’s seat, leading 4-0 with the game barely underway.

Oregon City got only two hits in the game, singles by Jack Powell and Austin Johnson.

“Stinson was dominant, and offensively we were really good,” Arntson said.

The Cavaliers had a three-game series with eighth-ranked Lake Oswego (9-5, 3-0) scheduled for this week, hosting the Lakers on Monday and Friday, and traveling to Lake Oswego this afternoon. Oregon City (5-9, 0-3) was scheduled to play West Linn (6-8, 1-2), hosting their cross-river rivals on Monday and Friday.

“Two good teams going after it,” Arntson said in anticipation of the Lake Oswego series. “It should be a lot of fun.... And it’s going to be a really special series. We’ve had such a great rivalry with them over the years, and it will end next year, when we move to the Mt. Hood Conference.”

The Cavaliers have put up some pretty impressive numbers en route to their 12-1-1 record. Through their first 14 games they’d outscored 14 opponents by an average score of 8-2, with a .333 team batting average and 43 stolen bases.

Top sluggers have been Cary (.561 batting average), Devore (.400), Scruggs (.379) and Myers (.359).

Entering play this week, Cary had 14 stolen bases, out of 15 attempts; Ahlstrom had nine stolen bases, out of 10 attempts.

“[Cary] got thrown out for the first time [in Friday’s 4-3 win at Oregon City],” said Arntson. “It was on a pitch-out, and I think he was actually safe.”

Clackamas pitchers have a combined 1.24 team ERA. Stinson is 4-0, with a 0.33 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings; Bell is 4-1, with a 0.79 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 26-1/3 innings.

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