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6A Softball: Oregon City gets nod over Clackamas, 4-2

Trailing 4-0, the Cavaliers scored two in the sixth and were set to bat in the seventh when the field was deemed unplayable and the game was called

REVIEW/NEWS PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Oregon City's Morgan Hornback pitched six innings and allowed two runs (neither earned) on four hits with one walk and eight strikeouts in Friday's rain-shortened 4-2 win over Clackamas.The Clackamas Cavaliers trotted off Oregon City's rained-soaked field after the final out of the sixth inning Friday, ready to continue the comeback they'd started in their previous at-bat.

They never got the opportunity.

With puddles of standing water forming across the field, the umpires deemed the conditions unplayable and called the game before the start of the seventh inning, handing the Pioneers a 4-2 Mt. Hood Conference softball win over the Cavaliers.

Morgan Hornback keyed Oregon City's eight-hit attack with a two-run homer in the first inning, and was a force on the mound as the Pioneers (19-2, 10-1 Mt. Hood) maintained a two-game lead over Barlow and Gresham atop the league standings with four games remaining in the regular season.

"Anytime you beat Clackamas, it's a big win," Oregon City coach Dave Adelhart said. "They're always tough, always competitive. This was a good test for the upcoming playoffs, too."

Clackamas coach Angela Hemming was stunned when she realized the game had been halted and saw the umpires walking off the field.

She thought something could have been done to fix the puddles and she tried calling out to the umpires, hoping they might stop and reconsider their decision, but her pleas drew no response.

"Most schools carry something that we could have put on the puddles if we had to," Hemming said. "I know it's wet, but we probably could have done something to make it playable at least for one more inning.

"It's disappointing that we couldn't push through and work together to play another inning and finish this game."

The game started at 5 p.m. under overcast skies that grew darker as rain clouds moved in from the west.

Oregon City scored two runs in the first inning, one in the second, and one in the third to take a 4-0 lead, and Hornback took a three-hit shutout into the sixth when the rain started to fall.

Maddy Stateler led off the Clackamas sixth with a double to left, and Maddy Oakden reached on an infield error, putting runners at first and third with none out.

The umpires stopped the game for five minutes during one heavy rain spell, but then started back up as soon as the rainfall lightened, even though it never completely stopped.

When play resumed, Oakden stole second, and then Hornback unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Stateler to score and Oakden to take third.

With one out, Kylee Vanderbout walked and stole second, drawing a throw from Oregon City catcher Isabelle Lewis. The throw missed the mark and skipped into the outfield for an error, allowing Oakden to come home and make the score 4-2.

Hornback retired the next two batters on a strikeout and a pop out, leaving Vanderbout stranded at second.

Clackamas' Nicole McBride, who came on in relief of starter Shaylee Monise in the third inning, retired the Pioneers in order in the sixth, setting the stage for what the Cavaliers thought would be some seventh-inning fireworks.

Too much rain put the kibosh on that.

"The umpires made the cal on the field, and everyone can see there's standing water everywhere," Adelhart said. "If some girl were to get hurt, that's got to be the most important thing, that we protect these kids.

"Clackamas is used to playing on turf (at Hood View Park), and they play through this weather all the time. But you can't take the risk of any girl getting hurt, especially this close to the playoffs."

The Cavaliers (17-6, 7-6) lost for the second time in three games and missed out on a chance to leapfrog Barlow and Gresham in the win column with three games remaining on their league schedule.

"We were finally making contact against Oregon City's pitcher and … anything could have happened," Hemming said. "I'm not saying we could have pulled the win off, because Oregon City is a good team, but it's a shame that we weren't given the opportunity to make it happen.

"I think we could have done something to this field to make it work for another 10-15 minutes. At least, try it. And then if the field was still not playable and dangerous, then I would understand. But when no effort was made, that's what is a little irritating."