Baseball: Clackamas sweeps Barlow series, clinches Mt. Hood title
Chalk up another Mt. Hood Conference baseball championship for the Clackamas Cavaliers.
Greg Mehlhaff's two-run double keyed a four-run seventh inning that carried Clackamas to a 7-4 road win Friday over Barlow, completing a three-game series sweep and clinching a third consecutive league title.
Senior right-hander Tucker Grote tossed a complete-game, four-hitter with three walks and eight strikeouts, and Mehlhaff finished 2 for 3 with three RBIs as the defending 6A state-champion Cavaliers (17-5, 14-1 Mt. Hood) extended their winning streak to 14 games.
"One of our goals at the start of the season definitely was to win the league title, so that was awesome," Mehlhaff said. "We're playing some of our best baseball of the season. Just to have all facets of the game clicking for us right now is big and something we want to carry into the playoffs."
Clackamas went into the Barlow series with a one-game lead over the Bruins, while Central Catholic was another two games back with five league games remaining.
But any hopes the Bruins had of knocking the legs out from under Clackamas' title run ended when the Cavaliers won the first two games of the series by scores of 7-6 on Monday and 5-0 on Wednesday.
"We knew that we had some tough competition and that we were going to have to rise to the occasion a little bit because Barlow is definitely one of the best teams in our league," Mehlhaff said. "Once we won the first two, our coaches said, 'We can't stop here. Let's clinch it right now, take it from Barlow, and help ourselves in the state rankings.' And we did."
Tied at 3-3, Ryan McDonald led off the Clackamas seventh with a single, Grant Schoen drew a walk, and Alex Claxton got hit by a pitch to load the bases with none out.
After McDonald scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball, Mehlhaff drove a 1-1 pitch from Barlow reliever Jimmy Nicholson into center field for a double that scored Schoen and Claxton to make it 6-3.
Mehlhaff then advanced to third on Ryan Ahlstrom's sacrifice bunt and then scored on Bubba Jaha's single to right, giving the Cavaliers a 7-3 lead.
Barlow (14-9, 10-4) got a run back in the home half of the seventh when Jaren Hunter reached on an error and came around to score on Nicholson's grounder to first base that Mehlhaff misplayed into an error -- Clackamas' third of the inning.
The Bruins brought the potential winning run to the plate with two outs, but Grote retired Weber on a game-ending fly out to center field.
"We had our opportunities," Barlow coach Scott Hunter said. "We capitalized on a few of them, but we also had some big opportunities that we didn't capitalize on both defensively and offensively."
Clackamas took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Schoen walked and scored on Mehlhaff's RBI-single.
The Cavaliers then added a run in the second on an RBI-single by McDonald, and then scored again in the fifth on an RBI-single by Jake Zehr, pushing the lead to 3-0.
Barlow tied the game in the fifth when the Bruins sent seven batters to the plate and scored three runs on two walks and a pair of two-out singles.
In the series, Zehr went 4 for 7 with a double and two RBIs, Mehlhaff went 4 for 8 with a double and six RBIs, and McDonald went 4 for 9 with an RBI, a stolen base, and three runs scored.
The Cavaliers are scheduled to close out league play with two games against David Douglas -- Tuesday at David Douglas and Friday at home.
OREGON CITY 17, REYNOLDS 3: Jordan Beard, Logan Hanson, Hayden Keep, Kyle Roley, and Jordan Weseman had two hits each, and Tanner Osborne added a three-run homer, helping the Pioneers to a Mt. Hood Conference road win Friday over the Raiders.
Oregon City is scheduled to play its final home game Tuesday against Gresham before closing out the regular season Friday at Gresham.