The Cavaliers have set their sights on dethroning Putnam

CLACKAMAS - Should the defending Three Rivers League softball champion Rex Putnam Kingsmen falter, the Clackamas Cavaliers will be waiting in the wings to claim the crown.

The Cavaliers have seven starters - including first-team all-league pitcher Victoria Scholes - returning from last year's team that finished runner-up to the Kingsmen in the TRL.

'[Putnam's] the team to beat,' said Clackamas coach Dom Giancola. 'They own the crown. But it's our goal to win league.'

'We've got the same pitcher, and she's become more confident,' Giancola said. 'She's going to be a lot better.'

Scholes and her teammates allowed only five hits in two league games last week, as they began play with a 7-1 win at Lakeridge and a 16-0 shellacking of Milwaukie.

Other returning starters include: seniors Kristin Wayland (catcher) and Liz Bohr (outfield), junior Maddie Taylor (first base), and sophomores Kathryn Persaud (shortstop), Ariel Rockwell (centerfield) and Ally Noble (outfield).

Taylor and Rockwell were both first-team all-league selections last season; Persaud garnered second-team all-league honors; Wayland received honorable mention.

Giancola also has a couple of talented freshmen he expects to make an immediate impact in Thea Reiner and Shelby Mauermann. Mauermann has earned the starting nod at second base.

'Thea is very talented,' said Giancola. 'She's got a pretty good bat and glove. Shelby is going to be a good one. She's a great defensive play. She's a heck of a slap-hitter who slaps from the left side, and she's very quick on the bases.'

Scholes (2-for-4) helped her own cause in last week's game with Lakeridge, leading off a six-hit, seven-run third inning with a double to left-center.

Waylund, Persaud and senior Breeze Luikrofka also hit doubles in the pivotal inning.

Scholes also hammered a two-run home run in a non-league game with Barlow that was stopped short because of rain.

Rockwell starred at the plate against Milwaukie, going 2-for-4, with a grand slam home run and six RBI. It was her second round-tripper of the year.

Taylor went 3-for-4, with three RBI and two runs scored.

Giancola said the keys for his Cavaliers this season will be 'consistent pitching, timely hitting and great defense.'

'I'm anticipating a wild, wild TRL,' said Giancola. 'It's a tough league with a lot of good teams, and people are going to beat each other up.'

Giancola's Cavaliers (2-1, 2-0) were scheduled to meet Crook County and Mazama on the road over spring break. They return to league play next Monday, when they entertain Oregon City (2-2, 1-0).

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