The Cavaliers turned three hits, a sacrifice bunt, a sacrifice fly, and two Southridge errors into a three-run fifth inning that tipped Monday's game

REVIEW/NEWS PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Clackamas' Nicole McBride threw 5 2-3 innings of shutout relief in Monday's 3-1 OSAA Class 6A playoff win over Southridge.Clackamas' Maddy Stateler singled home the tying run and Kaelyn Lawrence drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly during a three-run fifth inning that carried the Cavaliers to a 3-1 home win over Southridge in Monday's opening round of the OSAA Class 6A softball playoffs.

Nicole McBride tossed 5 2-3 shutout innings in relief of starter Shaylee Monise and Clackamas played error-free defense behind her as the Cavaliers (20-8) advanced to face Westview (24-4) in Wednesday's second round at Westview.

"It's a great feeling," said McBride, who faced four batters over the minimum during the final five innings. "I'm so glad we got past the first round, and I'm so ready to play Wednesday.

"I think we just need to go into the game believing in ourselves and knowing that we can beat anyone and just stay strong."

Southridge, the fifth-place team out of the Metro League, opened the game with a bang, loading the bases on consecutive singles by Kiana Kushiyama, Desirae Busch and Madison Goodale. Hannah Jagow followed with a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Kushiyama with the game's first run.

Monise avoided any further damage when she struck out Lindsay Regalado and then got Kirby Fredricksen to fly out to center.

In the second inning, Monise retired Southridge's leadoff batter on a grounder to second, but then surrendered to double to Emely Aviles, who hammered a pitch into the gap in left-center.

At that point, Clackamas coach Angela Hemming decided to change pitchers.

"As soon as I saw Southridge hitting Shaylee like that, I told Nicki, 'Your job is to keep Southridge off the bases.'" Hemming said. "Southridge is a good-hitting team. We had to stay on our toes at all times. We couldn't fall back on our heels against this team, because they would have jumped on us."

McBride said her job was to just throw strikes.

"I know I have a strong defense behind me," McBride said. "Southridge hits well -- like, really really well -- but I knew if I threw a good game, everyone behind me was ready to do whatever needed to be done."

The Skyhawks tried to add to their lead with two outs in the second when Kushiyama singled to left, sending Aviles to third. When Kylee Giancola's throw from left field went over the head of catcher Amanda Fields and sailed to the backstop, Aviles headed toward home. But McBride was in position to field the overthrow and tossed the ball back to Fields, who tagged Aviles as she tried to retreat to third base.

In the third, Stateler, the Clackamas shortstop, robbed Busch of a base hit with a sliding catch on a fly ball in shallow left field toward the foul line.

Rally time

Southridge starter Kacie Schmidt took a two-hit shutout into the fifth when the Cavaliers sent seven batters to plate and scored three runs on three hits, a sacrifice bunt, a sacrifice fly, and two Skyhawks' errors.

Fields led off with a single and then gave way to pinch-runner Kaylee LcClair, who went to second on Giancola's sacrifice bunt, advanced to third on a single by Trinity Loeb, and scored on Stateler's single to right.

After Alyssa Danielll reached on an error to load the bases, Lawrence hit the sacrifice fly to score Loeb. Stateler then scored when the Skyhawks misplayed Kylee Vanderbout's grounder into another error, giving the Cavaliers a 3-1 lead.

"The game plan was to put the ball between the lines, no matter how we did it," Hemming said. "Southridge had the momentum the whole time up until the fifth inning, and then one inning was all it took to turn the game our way."

Southridge finished with nine hits -- four off Monisee, five off McBride -- but failed to advance a runner into scoring position after the third inning.

"Clackamas' starter was a quality pitcher and she threw the ball pretty fast, but we actually hit a faster pitcher better," Skyhawks coach Joe Traeger said. "For whatever reason, the second pitcher Clackamas brought in threw a heavy ball. What I mean by that is the ball just comes off the bat differently, so they were able to make plays when they needed to make plays get those out.

"In the fifth, they got the sticks going when they needed to and we made a couple of errors. That was the difference."

Southridge ended the season with a 12-13 record.

"It's been a pretty successful season," Traeger said. "Our girls rallied around our two freshmen pitchers, and our defense played solid enough that it allowed the pitchers to trust the defense and they made batters swing the bat and put the ball in play. And overall, as the season progressed we got better and better as a team.

"I think the thing I'm most prous of is that girls played together and they played for each other."

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