The Pioneers used a 15-hit attack and avenged an earlier 18-8 loss at Clackamas, setting up pivotal game Tuesday at Barlow

PAMPLIN MEDIA PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Oregon City's Zoie Iverson watches her two-run homer that keyed a three-run second inning, helping lift the Pioneers to an 11-1 Mt. Hood Conference home win Friday over Clackamas.Oregon City's Zoie Iverson went looking for some payback Friday afternoon.

And she wasn't the only one.

Iverson went 4 for 4 with a double, a homer, and four RBIs as the No.5-ranked Pioneers overwhelmed visiting Clackamas 11-1 and earned a split of their two-game Mt. Hood Conference softball series with the No. 2 Cavaliers.

Emily Dugan, Morgan Hornback, and Isabelle Lewis added two hits each for the Pioneers, who not climbed into a second-place tie with Clackamas, but also may have spoiled any hope the Cavaliers had of winning an outright league championship.

Oregon City also avenged an 18-8 loss to the Cavaliers at Clackamas two weeks earlier, which probably had more to do with the Pioneers' motivation Friday than anything pertaining to the current league race.

"I remembered the last game and how things went and I was like, 'We've got to do this,'" Iverson said. "I had to do my job, everyone else had to do their job, and we did that.

"Clackamas thought they had us this game because of what happened the last game. We didn't compete enough in that first game, but today we definitely competed. It was awesome."

The Cavaliers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Alyssa Daniell hit a two-out double to center off Hornback, the Pioneers' ace, and scored on Olivia Musso's single to left.

Oregon City then seized the momentum in the bottom half of the first as the Pioneers laid into Clackamas starter Shaylee Monise, scoring four runs on five hits, a walk, and one Cavaliers' error.

The first seven Pioneers all reached base and the biggest blows were Iverson's two-run double, Hornback's RBI-double, and Emily Dugan's RBI-single that made the score 4-1 -- all four runs scoring before the first out of the inning.

"Well, we came out energized," Oregon City coach Dave Adelhart said. "What we talked about all week long was that we needed to play with energy. That's what Clackamas did to us in the first game, and these kids came out ready to go today."

The Pioneers piled on in the second inning when Isabelle Lewis led off with a double and then Iverson hammered a 2-1 pitch from Monise over the fence in left-center, pushing the lead to 6-1.

"It was a mistake pitch, right down the middle," Iverson said. "She made a mistake and I took advantage of that."

Still in the second, Oregon City's Jordyn Duntley reached on an error and then scored from first on Dugan's two-out double to straightaway center to make it 7-1.

Missed opportunities

There was still time for Clackamas to get back in the game, if only the Cavaliers could find the same hitting stroke they had in the April 18 home game against Oregon City when they tagged Hornback for 18 hits, including a season-high seven home runs.

But Hornback, the Texas Tech-bound right-hander, was up for Friday's challenge, blanking the Cavaliers after the first inning on four hits -- all singles -- with one walk and six strikeouts.

"The last game was a rough game. It was very humbling," Hornback said. "The day after that, we sat down and talked as a team and we were basically like, 'Okay, we get better from here.'

"We worked our butts off the last couple weeks, knowing we were going to play them today. And, yeah, the whole team was in it the whole time. We hit the ball, we fielded the ball, and we had each others' backs."

Hornback also altered her approach on the mound, working the ball down in the strike zone as much as possible.

"After the first Clackamas game, I realized that my ball was really flat; all the balls that I was throwing," she said. "So, I worked on my spin and keeping the ball low. I knew if I left the ball up, they were going to hit it."

The Cavaliers had chances to score, but went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners stranded in the game.

"We just didn't hit," Clackamas coach Ken Gemma said. "Flat out, we didn't hit. We slapped the ball around the year a little bit, but we made some errors and it was just a sloppy game for us."

Oregon City put the game away in the sixth with four runs on five hits, including Avery Pattison's pinch-hit, RBI-single that scored Dugan with the game-ending run.

"That was a statement game," Adelhart said. "It sends a message that we compete and we're not going to roll over and play dead. I know that's what people are saying out there, but we're here to play and our goal is to go all the way.

"We did not play our best game at Clackamas and the girls knew it. But that loss refocused our team on fundamentals. After that game, we worked on communication, we worked on basics, we got down to our core fundamentals, and we got reenergized."

Swing game

With three league games remaining, the focus turns to Tuesday's Barlow-Oregon City game at Barlow. If Barlow wins, the Bruins will essentially lock up the outright league championship. If the Pioneers win, the league race is likely to end in a three-way tie with Barlow, Clackamas and Oregon City sharing the league title.

"Today was a heartbreaker," said Gemma, whose team had its eight-game win streak snapped. "This would have been the league championship for us, in my opinion. We needed it and we just didn't come out and get it today. We've just got to pick up our bootstraps and go hit the ball on Monday.

"I'm proud of where we're at and what we're doing. I think we'll take care of business in the next three games we have. I mean, I hope we do, but I'm confident in this team. We've just got to play our game, hit like we can hit, pitch like we can pitch, and then hopefully the seeding gods help us out."

By Jim Beseda
Sports editor
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