Clackamas baseball notches key 4-1 nonconference win over Sprague
It was "just" a nonleague game.
But when your goals are as high as they are for the Clackamas baseball team, every game is a chance to get better, a chance to make plays and a chance to win.
The No. 2 Cavaliers did all of those things Thursday, April 21, to beat No. 11 Sprague 4-1 at Clackamas High School.
"We didn't play to our full potential, but some kids stepped up when we needed it the most," said Clackamas senior center fielder Caden Stevens, who walked once and scored once in his team's win, and also got the game's final out in relief. "Our defense was the reason we came up on top."
"Overall as a team, we performed well. Not to our highest level of play, but we were able to get the job done nonetheless," said senior third baseman Nick Holm, who knocked in his team's first run with a first-inning sacrifice fly. "There were a few free bases … we gave up, as well as some runners left on base on offense, but in the end, our pitching was able to hold up and our offense got the job done."
Junior Matthew Tacheny handled the lion's share of the day's pitching, picking up the win after throwing four innings and allowing no runs on one hit and two walks while striking out four.
"The key to today's result was great pitching by Matthew Tachney, the offense putting the ball in play and the defense making great plays," added senior right fielder Maurice Mayers, who went 2 for 4 at the plate and also threw 2 2/3 innings in relief, holding the Olympians to one run on two hits and two walks while striking out two.
With the win, the Cavaliers' seventh straight, Clackamas improved to 14-2 overall; the Cavs are also 6-0 in Mt. Hood Conference play. Sprague, meanwhile, lost for the second time in its past three games and fell to 11-3 overall.
After Tacheny threw a scoreless first — benefiting from a double play started by junior shortstop Garrett Strube — the Cavaliers pushed ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the frame when Strube reached base on an error, moved up on Mayers' single to left and scored when Holm hit a sacrifice fly to deep left field.
Tacheny struck out two Sprague batters in the second to strand two runners, and Clackamas then boosted its lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the frame. Stevens got things started with a one-out walk, stole second and scored on senior Haden Adsitt's single up the middle. Senior Trevor Wilson was hit by a pitch to push Adsitt to second and Strube followed with a hit to make it 3-0.
Sprague cut its deficit to 3-1 in the top of the fifth when junior Brandon Stinnett drew a one-out walk off Mayers and moved to third on senior Chris Rogers' double to left, then scored on a sacrifice fly by junior Eli Lowe.
Undaunted, the Cavaliers answered with one run of their own in the bottom of the sixth to seal the win, with senior Jacen Rademacher drawing a leadoff walk, moving up on a groundout and a walk, and sophomore pinch runner Joey Giancola scoring on an error to make it 4-1.
Sprague put two runners aboard in the top of the seventh against Mayers — on an error and a single — before Stevens came on to end the game on a fly ball by Lowe.
"Our team stepped up when the time came on the defensive side with great plays from our shortstop and our second basemen," Stevens said, referring to Strube and senior second baseman Ashton MacClanathan. "We left a couple runners on the base … but beside that, our bats looked great."
"The key to our win today was definitely our pitching," Holm added. "Even when we got in trouble with runners on, we were able to make a big pitch and get out of it."
For the game, Adsitt went 2 for 3 with one run scored and one RBI. For Sprague, Rogers went 2 for 4 at the plate, while junior pitcher Wyatt Connally threw six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks while striking out four.
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