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Oregon City and Clackamas are in the thick of things in the TRL softball title chase

by: JON HOUSE - Oregon City junior Morgan Bookout was a nightmare for West Linn on May 7, as her two-run home run plated the winning runs in a 3-1 Pioneer victory over their cross-river rivals.The Three Rivers League softball title chase remained a dogfight heading into this the final week of the league season.

West Linn (12-11, 9-3), Oregon City (13-8, 8-3), Clackamas (10-11, 7-4) and Canby (14-8, 6-6) were all still in contention heading down the home stretch.

Oregon City and Clackamas both appeared strong contenders, both teams having won five of their last six league games heading into this week.

“We’re happy with the progress we’ve made,” said Oregon City coach Dave Adelhart. “We’re starting to really come together as a team, and team play is going to be what it takes to win this league. It’s been a very balanced league, with everyone beating each other....

“We got a real confidence boost [in last week’s game with West Linn]. It was a big lift to the girls’ confidence. We’d gone to their place the last time and taken a real shellacking.”

In games last week, the Pioneers took care of business with West Linn (3-1) and Lake Oswego (13-2 in five innings), while Clackamas edged Canby 7-6 and the Cavaliers dropped Lake Oswego 10-6.

The Pioneers had lost to the Lions 12-3 in an April 25 game at Rosemont Ridge Middle School.

“We had a lot better composure and focus this time,” Adelhart said of last week’s 3-1 win over the Lions. “It was an exciting game, a defensive battle. We got in trouble three times, but Bri [pitcher Brianna Spencer] and the whole defense maintained their composure and got us out of some jams.”

Oregon City did all of its scoring in the bottom of the first inning, and a mighty blow by junior infielder Morgan Bookout proved pivotal.

Junior Kaitlynn Donaca led off Oregon City’s half of the first frame with a base hit, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Spencer and scored on a two-bagger by senior McKenzie Anderson.

Three pitches later, Bookout unloaded, crushing the ball over the fence in centerfield for a two-run home run and a 3-0 Pioneer lead.

“It was a blast,” said Adelhart. “The fence in centerfield is 16 feet high and it cleared the fence with plenty of room to spare.”

Adelhart added, “It hit the scoreboard and bounced back in. When Morgan got to second she saw the ball still in the park and she stopped at second. I had to tell her, ‘Come on, come on. It’s a home run.’ It’s the first time we’ve ever had anyone hit the scoreboard at our field. It was a long, long home run.”

West Linn took advantage of Oregon City’s only defensive miscues to score an unearned run in the top of the fourth. Two batters reached on errors, and a base hit by Caroline Freiling brought the run around, leaving two runners on base with no outs.

Junior Taylor Katzmarek then hauled down a fly ball in center, junior Devin Hally handled a pop up at first and Spencer got a strikeout-looking to end the inning.

Spencer pitched a complete game, striking out three, walking one and allowing just two hits.

Lefty Sarah VonAhn pitched for the Lions, striking out three, walking no one and allowing four hits.

The Pioneers took hitting practice on the Lakers in their 13-2 rout of Lake Oswego, pounding out no fewer than 15 hits in five innings.

Katzmarek set the tone, hammering a solo home run in the top of the third frame, sparking a five-run rally.

Singles by Donaca, Spencer and junior Ashley Dugan (3-for-3, 4 RBI), two walks and an error, plated four more runs in the inning. Dugan plated two runs with her timely base rap.

The Pioneers put the game on ice in the fourth frame, when they batted through their lineup and put eight more runs on the scoreboard. Katzmarek (3-for-3, 3 RBI) headed up the fireworks, with another solo home run and a two-run double in the big inning.

Donaca (3-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs), Spencer, Anderson, Hally and Bookout also had hits in the eight-run rally.

Hally pitched a complete game, striking out seven, walking no one, hitting one batter and yielding just three hits. She was supported by error-free defensive play.

In play this week, Oregon City had games with Canby and Clackamas on May 12 and 13, and at Lakeridge (9-9, 4-7) this afternoon. The Pioneers play host to Lake Oswego (4-16, 0-11) on Friday in their league final.

Junior infielder Jade Haehlen and senior designated hitter Corey Erickson earned heroine honors in last week’s 7-6 Clackamas Cavalier win at Canby.

Haehlen crushed the ball to left-centerfield for a two-run home run in a four-run third inning and Erickson plated what would prove the winning runs with a two-run, two-out single in the top of the seventh.

With Clackamas trailing 3-0, junior Amanda Zehr got things started in the third frame when she drew a walk. Junior Ashley Filler doubled and freshman Maddy Oakden singled to bring one run around. Sophomore Alize Godinez then brought a second run across on a sacrifice. Erickson followed with her blast, and it was a 4-3 ball game, with Clackamas on top for the first time.

The Cavaliers added a single tally in the top of the sixth, when senior pitcher Madisen Vrabel followed up a base hit by junior Cassie Haehlen with a run-scoring double.

In the seventh, the Cavaliers added two more runs when junior McKenzie Giancola and Cassie Haehlen reached on walks and they both scored with two down on Erickson’s single to right-center.

Erickson’s timely hit put the Cavaliers up 7-3. But the game did not end without some excitement.

Canby catcher Colleen Crutchfield followed up a walk and base hit with a three-run home run, trimming Clackamas’ lead to 7-6 with two down in the bottom of the seventh. The Cavaliers then ended the game when Ashley Filler flagged down a fly ball in centerfield.

Vrabel pitched a complete game, striking out five and walking three, while giving up five hits.

One big inning told the story in the 10-6 Cavalier win at Lake Oswego. With the game tied at 2-2, Clackamas scored eight runs in the top of the fifth, when the Cavaliers batted through the order.

Jade Haehlen crushed a three-run home run early in the stanza. Oakden (3-for-4) had a two-run double, Filler had a run-scoring double and Alexis Godinez had a run-scoring base hit.

Vrabel (2-for-4) had two hits in a 10-hit Cavalier offensive attack.

Zehr and Vrabel split time in the circle, striking out five, walking one and giving up eight hits and three earned runs.

Clackamas had an away game with Lakeridge on May 12. The Cavaliers close out the regular season, hosting West Linn this afternoon and Canby on Friday.

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