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Up-and-down Cavaliers gear for playoffs

The Clackamas Cavaliers split in two practice games last week, their final tune-ups for the Class 6A state high school softball playoffs.

After playing error-free ball in a 6-0 shutout of PIL 5A runner-up Franklin on May 17, the Cavaliers came up short at Metro League 6A power Southridge on May 18, losing 3-1.

Clackamas coach Dom Giancola said of the Franklin game, 'It was a good game. We put everything together - pitching, offense and defense.'

Giancola said of the loss at Southridge, 'I was a little disappointed. We didn't play our best game. Southridge is a good team, but we just went through the motions, instead of treating it like a playoff game….

'We can compete in the playoffs, but we've got to play solid all the way through, first inning to the last.'

After tying West Linn for third place in the Three Rivers League, the Cavaliers entered this week's state playoffs with an overall record of 13-12 (9-6 in league).

They were to meet 11th-ranked McMinnville (18-8) on the road in the May 23 first round. With a win, they'd advance to a second round game this afternoon, against the winner of a first-round game between 28th-ranked Jesuit (11-15) and sixth-ranked South Salem (21-5).

The Cavaliers did a lot right in last week's game with Franklin. Pitcher Sam Gutwig (8 strikeouts, no walks) pitched a 3-hitter.

The Cavaliers got eight hits and they made their hits count, scoring runs in five different innings.

Junior catcher Sarah Bigej (2-for-3) set the tone for the game, hammering a solo home run in the first inning.

Sophomore first baseman Mariah Scholes (3-for-3) added a solo shot in the third.

The Cavaliers gave the Skyhawks a game in last week's loss, battling to a 1-1 tie through the first five innings. They only struck out three times, but they struggled to execute with runners in scoring position. Bigej, Jen Behunin and Gutwig all hit doubles in the losing effort.