Canby softball downs West Linn 11-6
CANBY—The first time these two teams met, Canby walked away with a 7-2 win in the league opener. However, the Cougars have struggled find consistency since then. Canby went 3-5 since that encounter, while West Linn posted a 5-1 record going forward into the regular season.
In the rematch though, Canby would take advantage of an error-prone West Linn defense and get the win 11-6 after seven innings on Wednesday, April 2.
With the win, Canby improves to 5-5 in league play, and 11-11 overall. West Linn fell to 5-2 in the Three Rivers League, and 11-9 overall.
"That was a much needed win," Canby head coach Jen Peterson said. "I am so proud of them for finally coming out. Our bats were alive, and that was definitely what we needed."
"We had nine errors," West Linn coach Monica Sorenson said. "You can't win games doing that. I don't know what the struggle was because we played on dirt on Monday and didn't have any problems. The errors were why we lost this game. We can win with four runs scored, we just couldn't hold them because we let them get on way too easily."
Canby came out strong in the first two innings. After shutting out the West Linn offense in the top of the first inning, Canby senior Cassidy Posey connected on a pitch for a RBI single that brought in sophomore Ruby Kayser.
In the second inning West Linn was again held at bay offensively, and Canby got right back to work. Senior Savannah Tuli advanced home after a Lions fielding error, and Kayser made a sacrifice play to bring home junior Madison Miller. The Cougars were up 3-0 after two innings.
West Linn came back strong, though, in the top of the third. Starting West Linn pitcher Lexi Finke hit a single into left field and made it to first base, where courtesy runner sophomore Kacie Allen promptly took her place. Junior Taylor Maxwell hit a single of her own past Canby shortstop Posey, and two players were on base. To put points on the board, senior Brooke McKelvey hit an RBI double to bring in Allen. Senior Megan Talbert hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Maxwell, and to cap off the scoring for the Lions junior Gracey Hook cracked the ball into center field off of the fence to bring in McKelvey. The game was tied up, and Canby was held scoreless in the bottom of the third.
"They were starting to slow down in the third inning and see the pitcher," Sorenson said of her team's third inning performance. "It's hard to go from somebody who is throwing 58 to somebody who is throwing maybe 50. They just seemed to struggle with that, and it seemed like in that inning they were taking their time and hitting good pitches."
In the fourth inning, Canby took off. With a trio of runners on base, Posey smacked the ball into left field to bring in Miller for the first run of the inning. In the next at bat, senior Bailey Shorter battled at the plate, fouling five times in a row before connecting an RBI single that brought in Kayser. Sophomore Nichole Michelson kept the trend going, getting her own RBI single after bringing in senior Emily Hewitt.
"I didn't care what it took, I just wanted to get on base," Shorter said. "Swing at everything, you have power, so just get on. Those last two times I was just angry, and I threw my hands and it went super hard down the third baseline, and she fouled them, so I got on base both times. That was very exciting for me."
The biggest play of the inning came off of a West Linn error. Canby's Tuli found her biggest play yet, cracking the ball past the third baseman and bringing in Shorter and Michelson. Canby was up 8-3 by the end of the fourth inning.
West Linn came back a little bit back in the fifth inning, when Hook picked up an RBI double and brought in McKelvey again. Canby came back strong again, picking up three runs. Canby's Bailey Shorter connected on a single into left field that brought in junior Kamryn Mobley. In the next at bat, Michelson picked up a two RBI's with a double hit into right field, bringing in Kayser and Posey. Canby was up 11-4 by the top of the sixth inning.
"I haven't been hitting too well, so this was a good game for me," Michelson said of her big fifth inning. "I knew I was going to hit the ball. I just saw it, and I was like, it's going to go. I was really happy."
West Linn and Canby were both unable to score in the sixth, but West Linn gained a little ground on Canby's seven run lead. West Linn's McKelvey made it to home plate from third after a fielding error, and senior Kennedy Roby stole home after a wild pitch went by Canby's catcher. The momentum began to shift, but by the time Canby picked up the third out, it was too late. Canby had sealed the win 11-6.
Canby followed up the win with an 11-3 win over Newberg (5-18) on Friday, May 4. West Linn bested Lakeridge (7-15) 7-1 on the same day. Canby will move on to play Tigard on Monday, May 7 after the Herald goes to press.