Clackamas comes out swinging to open high school softball season
For the Clackamas Cavaliers' softball team, the hits -- big and small -- just keep coming.
On Tuesday, Maddy Stateler's sacrifice bunt pushed home Kaylyn Lawrence with the game-winning run in the seventh inning as the Cavaliers edged Hermiston 8-7 in their final game of the two-day Milwaukie Spring Break Tournament at Happy Valley's Hood View Park.
Joey Miller went 2 for 3 with a home run and three RBIs, and Lawrence also had two hits with an RBI-triple for the Cavaliers, who won for the third time in four tournament games and improved to 7-2 overall.
"It's really encouraging," Clackamas coach Ken Gemma said of his team's start. "We can play with anybody that we've been on the field with. We just need to clean some things up, but it's a really solid group, and one of the best we've had at Clackamas."
When it comes to areas that need work, hitting isn't one of them. This is a team with the ability to do it all -- situational hitting, hitting for average, and hitting for power -- and has been getting production throughout the lineup.
Through nine games, the Cavaliers are averaging 10.1 runs on 10 hits a game and they're boasting a .369 team batting average. They've already racked up 36 extra-base hits -- 20 doubles, three triples, and 12 home runs -- and the power has been spread around with eight different players hitting at least one homer each.
The players doing the most significant damage at the plate with at least 20 at-bats each include:
-- Alyssa Daniell: The sophomore first baseman, named to the all-Mt. Hood Conference second team as a freshman, has hits in seven of the eight games she has played and is batting a team-high .583 (14 for 24) with five doubles, three homers, and 12 RBIs.
-- Kylee Vanderbout: An all-league, first-team selection last season, the senior second baseman has five multiple-hit games and is batting .560 (14 for 25) with two doubles, one triple, one homer, and 10 RBIs.
-- Joey Miller: The senior third baseman/designated hitter is batting .357 (10 for 28) with three homers and 13 RBIs.
-- Kaelyn Lawrence: Hitting in the leadoff spot, the senior center fielder is batting .355 (11 for 31) with two doubles, one triple, one homer, four RBIs, and 14 runs scored.
-- Olivia Musso: Another senior third baseman/designated hitter who typically bats clean-up is batting .345 (10 for 29) with three doubles, one homer, and 12 RBIs.
-- Maddy Stateler: The sophomore shortstop who earned all-league honorable mention last season is batting .269 with two homers and 11 RBIs.
In the pitching department, the Cavaliers have two solid arms in senior Nicole McBride and junior Shaylee Monise. The two right-handers have split the pitching duties evenly through the first nine games, McBride making five starts with appearances in two of the other four games, and Monise making four starts with appearance three of the other five games.
The two have fashioned a combined 2.59 earned-run average in 54 innings pitched, having allowed 37 runs (20 earned) on 63 hits with 10 walks and 62 strikeouts.
So, where are the inconsistencies that Gemma would like to fix?
"Sometimes we come out with slow starts," he said. "Sometimes we don't come out with the energy that I'd like to see, so we've got to clean that up and start getting into mid-season form.
"It's been a good pre-season run. We hit really well, and when we hit and we're consistent, we're pretty solid."
Against Hermiston, the Cavaliers took a 6-1 lead into the fifth inning when the Bulldogs sent eight batters to the plate and score five runs on four hits, including back-to-back home runs by Bailee Noland and Ashley Cameron that tied the score at 6-6.
Still tied after six innings and faced with a tournament time limit, the international tiebreaker rule went into effect in the seventh, each team starts the inning with a runner on second base.
Hermiston's Amanda Barron went from second to third on a sacrifice bunt leading off the seventh and then scored on Sydney Stefani's one-out single to right to give the Bulldogs a 7-6 lead.
Clackamas answered in the bottom of the seventh when Ellie Martin scored from second on Lawrence's leadoff triple to right. Stateler then bunted the first pitch she got down the third-base line and Lawrence beat the throw to the plate to score the winning run.
A nice win, but a game that was closer than it should have been in Gemma's book.
"Today's game was on me," he said. "We had the game in hand and I did some poor pitch calling. I need to clean that up.
"We've got a great group. I think we'll gel pretty well and my hope is that we can make a pretty deep run into the playoffs this year, but we'll see how things go."
The Cavaliers are scheduled to close out the non-conference portion of their schedule next week with a road game on Monday at Hood River Valley, and home games Wednesday against Newberg and Friday against Lakeridge.