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Beavers still seeking answers in non-league play

Beaverton sees its chance for victory slip away late vs. Cavs
by: MILES VANCE, SAFE — Beaverton shortstop Maddie Evans watches the ball bounce away from her as Clackamas’ Kathryn Persaud steals second in the eighth inning Friday afternoon.

BEAVERTON - It isn't all about winning and losing in non-league play, and the Beaverton softball team is hoping that the lessons it's learning now pay big dividends later in the year.

The Beavers (1-3 overall) rallied from a 2-0 deficit in their Friday home game against Clackamas, tied the contest in the second, then saw the Cavaliers slip away with a 3-2 win in eight innings at Beaverton High School.

'We were so close,' said junior Hannah Johnson, who went 1-for-4 at the plate and made four strong defensive plays in right field. 'We've just got to clean everything up and we'll be fine.'

'We're getting better every game, but we're just so young,' said Beaverton coach Gary Edwards. 'We usually have one bad inning it seems like every game and then we settle down and play well.'

Clackamas (1-3 overall) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Kristin Wayland, Alley Noble and Victoria Scholes notched consecutive singles off Beaverton pitcher Claire Velaski. Scholes' hit drove in the game's first run, and the second came home when Stephanie Ori grounded to Claudia Mays at first base.

The Beavers answered immediately, however, scoring two runs of their own in the bottom of the second.

Velaski got things started with a single, and pinch runner Kaylin Marron scored when Megan Spooner laid down a sacrifice bunt and came home when the Clackamas first baseman threw the ball away trying to catch Marron on her way to third.

Evans followed with a single to center field, took second on Janelle Winship's bunt, moved to third on a Cavalier error and scored when the Clackamas catcher dropped Stephanie Lilla's pop-up bunt.

And there, at 2-2, is where the score stayed until the top of the eighth, though the Beavers saw a great chance go by the boards in the sixth inning.

There, Evans collected a one-out single to center field, moved to second on Winship's bunt and to third on Caitlin Ellerbe's infield single. With Cavalier first baseman Maddie Taylor struggling back to her feet after stretching for the throw on Ellerbe's hit, Evans rounded third hard and was waved home by Beaverton assistant Lem Montoya. But Evans hesitated, then raced home and was thrown out by Taylor to keep the score at 2-2.

Then, in the top of the eighth, Kathryn Persaud singled for Clackamas, stole second and took third on Shelley Simpson's grounder to third. She then scored the game-winner when Kim Christensen laid down a bunt and Persaud beat Velaski's toss home to Winship.

In the bottom of the eighth, Evans came through with a two-out double and took third on a passed ball, but was stranded there when Megen Ickler struck out.

'We've been getting gradually better (with the bats) each game so I think we're going to be all right,' McMahon said. 'We're learning from our mistakes so I think we're going to be fine this year.'

'I think there's some really good talent here, but we're young and we've been playing a lot of kids and experimenting,' Edwards said. 'We've been getting lots of people on base. We're just not coming through at the right time.'

Evans went 3-for-4 and scored once to lead the Beavers, while Lilla was 2-for-2 and drove in a run. Velaski, who drew praise from Edwards for her efforts, scattered seven hits, struck out eight and walked one.

Clackamas pitcher Scholes gave up nine hits, struck out two and walked one.