Seventh-inning explosion keeps Cavs in contention
Wednesday, May 1
GRESHAM — The Clackamas softball team put on a fireworks finale in the seventh inning to light up Centennial 16-4 on Wednesday.
The Cavaliers never trailed in the pivotal game between playoff contenders, jumping out to a 2-0 lead on a Shaylee Monise grounder and a Kaiya Oswalt fly ball in the third inning.
Centennial answered with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning before Clackamas took the lead for good in the fourth on Maddy Stateler's two-run homer down the left-field line.
"I was late in my first at-bat, so I went up there telling myself to pull the ball and that made me early on my swing," Stateler said. "When we got up on the scoreboard, it brought our team energy up and we just kept fighting."
A wild pitch and an error would allow two more to come home with two outs.
Centennial put its first two hitters on in the fifth, but a series of fly balls left the Eagles empty handed. Mia Bratcher beat out an infield single to lead off the sixth, but once again Centennial would have nothing to show for it. Rinoa Aiger sprinted in from center field, calling off teammates along the way, to snag a catch at the edge of the infield dirt for out number two.
Clackamas ended the threat when Alyssa Daniell made a similar sprint from first base to catch a pop up at the side of the pitcher's circle.
Clackamas took a 7-4 lead into its final at-bats before ending the game with a tidal wave of runs.
The Cavaliers loaded the bases with no outs when Monise cleared them with a double to the right-field gap.
"I just had that spark of 'Let's go,' and the moment I made contact if felt good," Monise said.
It proved to be the blueprint for success, as Stateler, Aiger and Kylie Hegar also sent run-producing hits to the same part of the field.
Daniel also hammered an RBI-triple to left field during the rally.
Everyone in the Cavaliers' lineup finished the day with a hit, the top half of the order (Stateler, Aiger, Daniell and Hegar) combined to go 10-for-19 (.526) with four extra-base hits.
Monise went the distance in the circle, striking out three batters and retiring the Eagles in order twice.
Clackamas remained in second place in the Mount Hood Conference with the win, while Centennial dropped into wildcard status in fourth place heading into the final week of the regular season.
"This is really big for our team," Monise said. "We just want to play all out and get the best seed we can for the playoffs."
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This story is slated for our May 8, print edition.