But Coach Arntson says he isnt surprised

by: VERN UYETAKE - Clackamas senior infielder Jake IversonThe Clackamas Cavaliers are 8-0 to start the 2013 baseball season, but Clackamas coach John Arntson says he’s not surprised.

“I’m not at all surprised,” he said. “I expected us to be pretty good.... “We’ve been playing really good defense and our pitchers, for the most part, have been throwing strikes and doing a good job.”

Arntson added, “We’ll find out pretty quick what that 8-0 means. We’re going to see two pretty good teams in West Salem and Jesuit [in our final preseason games]. Then we face Oregon City and Lake Oswego right out of the gate in league.”

Although the Cavaliers are off to an 8-0 start, many of the wins have not come easily. Their last three wins were in one-run games — with Putnam (5-4), Corvallis (6-5) and McMinnville (4-3 in nine innings).

“[The McMinnville game] shouldn’t have been that close,” Arntson said. “[Pitcher] Zach Farnes was as good as I’ve seen him. But again, our kids didn’t give up. They kept battling, doing the little things right. And they found a way to win.”

The Cavaliers played error-free ball in the close games with the Kingsmen, the Spartans and the Grizzlies.

Farnes struck out 11 batters and walked one, while allowing just two hits and two earned runs in 6-1/3 innings of work in the March 27 game with McMinnville. But he began to tire in the seventh, and the Grizzlies rallied back to score three runs in the top of the seventh, knotting the score at 3-3 and send the contest into extra innings.

Hero honors went to junior designated hitter Cade Wilkins. Junior outfielder Garrett Myers led off the bottom of the ninth with a triple, senior infielder Austin Kelly drew an intentional walk, and Wilkins followed with a one-out base hit up the middle, plating Myers for the game-winner.

Myers (2-for-4), Kelly (2-for-3, triple, 2 RBI) and Aaron Ahlstrom (2-for-4) led Clackamas at the plate, as the Cavaliers outhit the Grizzlies 10-5.

Junior Jared Bell was sharp on the mound in 2-1/3 innings of relief. He came in with the score tied at 3-3 and pitched shutout ball, striking out three, walking one and allowing two hits.

Arntson said of Farnes, “He was lights out before he got tired. He wasn’t overpowering, but his change and curve had a lot of movement.”

The Cavaliers’ game with Putnam went down-to-the-wire, with senior infielder Jake Iverson pushing the game-winner across in the bottom of the seventh.

Senior infielder Jarrod Switzer led off the seventh with a base hit. With one down, Bell drew an intentional walk. The baserunners advanced on a passed ball and junior outfielder Josh Devore drew an intentional walk to load up the bases with one down. Iverson singled up the middle, and the Cavaliers claimed the spoils.

The game was hard fought all the way, with Putnam tying things up at 4-4 with one run in the top of the fourth.

Clackamas pitchers Luke Burns, Skylar Schlunz, Farnes and Devore combined to strike out two Putnam batters, while walking two and scattering eight hits.

Two Putnam pitchers combined to strike out three, while walking six and yielding nine hits.

Wilkins (2-for-2) had a run-scoring double in the second inning and Cole Scruggs came through with a RBI-double in the third.

Ahlstrom was sharp on the hill in the Cavaliers’ 6-5 win over Corvallis, striking out eight, walking two and yielding just two hits and no runs in four innings of work.

“He was as good as he’s looked all year,” Arntson said. “He was throwing all three pitches for strikes and locating really well.”

Still, the Cavaliers had their hands full, as they reached Corvallis pitchers for only six hits — and eight walks.

With the score tied at 3-3, the Cavaliers won the game in the bottom of the fifth, when they scored three runs in a two-out rally.

Devore got things started in the fifth with a double to left. Ahlstrom walked and junior outfielder Michael McDonald singled Devore home. Ahlstrom scored when he teamed up with McDonald for a successful double steal.

Switzer walked, and Kelly singled McDonald home for what would prove the game-winner.

McDonald (2-for-4) played a pivotal role in the win, with his run-scoring single in the fifth and a two-run single in the fourth. Kelly (2-for-4) also had two hits.

Myers was the hero in a recent 3-0 win over Beaverton. He stepped to the plate in the second inning with the bases loaded and cleared the bases with a triple down the left-field line.

Four Clackamas pitchers combined for seven strikeouts, while walking three batters and scattering six hits in the shutout.

Bell pitched a 3-hitter in a 4-0 shutout of Roseburg. He threw only 82 pitches, while recording four strikeouts and walking just one batter.

Led by junior infielder Tyler Stinson (3-for-3, double), Kelly (2-for-3, double) and Wilkins (2 RBI), the Cavaliers punished the ball for 10 hits and scored runs in four different innings.

Clackamas hosts Jesuit Thursday at 5 p.m., and the Cavaliers have a three-game series with defending state champion Oregon City next week, hosting the Pioneers on Monday and on Friday (April 12).

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