Robby Butenschoen was the next pitcher up for the Clackamas Hammers on Saturday and the senior right-hander did not disappoint.
Butenschoen went the distance, scattering five hits with no walks and four strikeouts to help lead Clackamas to a 6-0 victory over Tualatin in Saturday's championship final of the Oregon Independent Baseball Association state tournament at Tualatin High School.
Grant Edgerly went 3 for 4 and drove in two runs and Brody Upton added two hits and an RBI as the Hammers won the OIBA's season-ending championship tournament for the second season in a row and the third time in four seasons.
"We peaked at the right time," Clackamas coach John Arntson said. "We're playing our best baseball at the end of the season, which is what you want. And no doubt in my mind, we played our best baseball these last three games, for sure."
Solid pitching was one of the common threads that ran throughout Clackamas' championship run.
After Anthony Redman fired a one-hitter with six strikeouts in Friday's 7-0 quarterfinal win over Jesuit and K.C. Miller also went the distance in Saturday's 11-3 semifinal win over Lake Oswego, it was Butenschoen's turn to show what he could do.
"I just wanted to throw strikes and then let my infield and outfield make plays for me," Butenschoen said.
Tualatin's Griffin Biggs drove the first pitch from Butenschoen into right field for a single, but Joey Myers lined the ball back to the mound to start a 1-3 double play, and then Blake Jackson struck out swinging to end the inning.
Clackamas then jumped on Tualatin starter Luke Rogers, who struggled to find the strike zone in the first inning. He hit leadoff batter Tatum Erickson with a 2-0 pitch, then Jack Dorn drew a walk, Upton hit an RBI-single to left, and Edgerly added an RBI-double to right.
Upton then scored on Nick Holm's ground out to second, and Edgerly came home on Will Lindholm's fly out to right, knocking the ball out of the catcher's glove in a collision at the plate to give the Hammers a 4-0 lead.
The Hammers added two more runs in the second inning and then it was all Butenschoen after that.
He retired the Timberwolves in order in the second inning, then surrendered a two-out single in the third and a two-out double in the fourth — two hits that led to nothing.
In the fifth, Tualatin's Shaun Christensen reached on an error and went to second on Max Krahnke's one-out single to left. The threat ended with Connor Goodhue's fly out to left and Biggs' inning-ending strikeout.
The Timberwolves then had runners at first and second with one out in the seventh when Butenschoen retired Krahnke on a fly out to left and then struck out Goodhue to end the game.
"That was awesome," Butenschoen said. "It felt really good after a long summer to go out with a good win against a team we'd lost to twice earlier.
"It was nice pitching with a lead. It gives you a lot more confidence when you've got a big lead like that. I was definitely a lot more relaxed. My slider worked really well, first pitch, and then I got most of my strikeouts with fastballs up."
Arntson said Butenschoen deserved a game ball after Saturday's performance.
"Jumping on Tualatin early, getting that lead was key, but I think with us it starts on the mound," Arntson said. "Robby Butenschoen is a kid who has mostly been a reliever. I think he had one other start this summer and for him to come out and pitch like that, man, wow, that was impressive.
"He was the next guy in line that we would give the ball to and our idea was, 'Let's give it to him and see how long he can go.' Then we were going to turn it over to Jack Artman or maybe Nick Holm for an inning or two and we were going to kind of piece it together, but Robby just had one quick inning after another."
In three games, Clackamas outscored the opposition 24-3 with two shutouts and batted .347 (26 for 75) with 10 doubles. Brody Upton had hits in all three games, going a combined 6 for 9 with three doubles and five RBIs, while Edgerly and Erickson added four hits each.
"We executed well," Arntson said. "We ran the bases well, we got bunts down, we ran a hit-and-run, our defense stepped up and made plays, and our outfielders went and caught some balls that were tough to get to and they went and got 'em.
"This summer, we kind of had some ups and downs and I think we got to that last part of July and there was some burnout. And not just the kids, but the coaches, too. It was a long season, and it's tough playing some games that really don't mean anything.
"To get back to a state tournament where there was something on the line, the kids really responded and I'm proud of that."
That's something that could pay dividends next spring when the Cavaliers will look to repeat as Mt. Hood Conference champions for the fifth season in a row.
"For us to finish like this, I think that's a big shot in the arm," Arntson said. "One of the things I said to the players after that first game and said again about this whole tournament is, 'Log this away because I'm going to come back to this game and I'm going to come back to the way we played these three games.'
"At some point in the high school season, things aren't going to go well and it will be, 'Hey, remember this. Remember what we were doing. Remember that feeling and the energy we played with because we're going to need to find it again.'"
CLACKAMAS 7, JESUIT 0: Anthony Redman fired a one-hitter with two walks and seven strikeouts Friday to help send the Hammers into Saturday's semifinals against Lake Oswego.
Brody Upton went 3 for 3 with two doubles and three RBIs, and Jack Dorn added three hits, but Redman stole the spotlight as he surrendered a one-out single to Jesuit's Jack Heyden in the second inning and then retired the final 17 Crusaders in order on eight fly outs, two ground outs, and seven strikeouts.
"That was the best game we've played all summer," Clackamas coach John Arnston said. "It started with Redman on the mound, obviously, but pitching, defense, and offense … that was the best game we've played, and you could just feel the vibe — very positive mentality, good body language — even before the game started."
Redman threw 86 pitches, including 59 for strikes, and rated his performance "a 10 out of 10."
"It was the best I've pitched," he said. "I fooled them with my curveball more often than not, and my changeup is usually on, but today it was better than usual. I just kept it down low and they'd swing and miss."
CLACKAMAS 11, LAKE OSWEGO 3: Nick Holm's three-run double highlighted a four-run first inning that set the tone in Saturday's semifinal game against the Lakers at Tualatin High School.
K.C. Miller went the distance on the mound, scattering 10 hits with one walk and five strikeouts. The Hammers defense also turned three double plays and threw one Lake Oswego runner out at home plate, while another Laker base runner was caught stealing.
Tatum Erickson added two hits for the Hammers, who scored a run in the second inning, three in the third, and one in the fourth to take a 9-1 lead.
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