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Cavalier coeds are hitting up a storm


Clackamas softball team hammers out 44 hits in four games

by: JAIME VALDEZ - Coach Dave Just says improved accuracy by pitcher Madison Vrabel has helped lead to a turnaround in Clackamas High School softball. After going 0-3 to start the season, the Cavaliers won five games in a row. Clackamas begins league play next Monday with an away game with Lake Oswego.After a 0-3 start to the season, Clackamas’ softball team has won its last five games.

The Cavaliers went 4-0 during last week’s spring break tournament at Hood View, defeating Wilson (11-0), Putnam (6-1), Grant (10-4) and 2012 Class 5A state champion Pendleton (5-4).

The Cavaliers stung the ball for 44 hits in the four games.

It was a combination of offensive execution and tough-defense-when-it-counted that got the Cavaliers (5-3 overall) past Pendleton (7-3 overall).

Playing by the international tiebreaker, the Cavaliers started their half of the seventh with Missy Noble on second base. Noble advanced to third on junior Madison Vrabel’s sacrifice bunt and scored, with one down, on a sacrifice fly to right field by sophomore Jade Haehlen. Pendleton’s second baseman made a back-peddling catch on the play, but Noble raced home well ahead of the throw to the plate.

The Cavaliers got outhit 11-9, but they came up with some huge defensive plays to slow the Buckaroos. Noble, playing right field, gunned down a runner at home to end Pendleton’s half of the fourth inning with the score tied at 2-2. And sophomore centerfielder Ashley Filler flagged down a fly ball and hit cut-off McKenzie Giancola, who gunned down a baserunner at third base, to end the fifth inning.

Cavalier offensive leaders were sophomore Cassie Haehlen with a solo home run, sophomore Ashley Filler with a triple; and sophomore Sam Haehlen (2-for-3) and senior Vanessa Oakden (2-for-3) with two hits apiece.

The Cavaliers cranked up their bats for 14 hits in their 10-4 rout of Grant.

They put the game away in the second inning, when they sent 14 batters to the plate. Senior Mariah Scholes led off the big inning with a triple and Noble followed with a two-run home run.

Sophomore McKenzie Giancola (2-for-4) had big day with her bat, driving in three runs with a double and a single.

Junior starting pitcher Madison Vrabel (2-for-2) helped her own cause with two hits in two at bats.

Oakden (2 RBI) and sophomores Ashlee Filler (double) and Sam Haehlen also had two hits apiece, as nine different Clackamas batters put the ball in play for hits.

Vrabel was huge in the Cavaliers’ 6-1 win over Putnam, striking out four and walking four, while scattering five hits. And she helped her own cause with some defensive heroics in the second inning.

Putnam loaded the bases with no one out in the second, when Vrabel got force outs at the plate on a pair of comebackers. She then got the next batter to fly out to Noble in right field to end the inning with no damage done.

The Cavaliers reached two Putnam pitchers for 13 hits. Scholes (2-for-2, 2 RBI) smacked a double and a home run, and Oakden (2-for-4, 3 runs) had a solo home run.

Filler (3-for-4) and Vrabel (3-for-3, double) had three hits apiece.

Vrabel had another good outing in the circle in the shutout of Wilson, striking out six and walking two, while allowing just three hits.

Jade Haehlen rapped a two-run single and Giancola pounded out a two-run double in a seven-run sixth inning.

Oakden smacked a double and scored twice.

Scholes made base in all 14 of her at bats for the Hood View tournament. She was a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate, with nine walks.

The Cavaliers were hitting .306 as a team heading into play this week. Scholes (.666), Oakden (.458), Filler (.440) and Giancola (.407) were all hitting better than .400. Giancola had a team-leading 13 RBI, and Filler had a team-leading seven runs scored.

The Cavaliers were to finish up the preseason this week, hosting Forest Grove (6-1) on Friday. They begin Three Rivers League play next Monday, at Lake Oswego (0-2).

“I’m pleased with our progress,” said Clackamas coach Dave Just. “Playing four games in two days helps. We’ve got our bats going and we’ve cut down on errors. We’ve tightened up our defense, and now we’ve taken it down from four outs per inning to three outs per inning....

“And Madison Vrabel is getting a lot better at pitcher. She’s attacking a little more, giving up fewer walks, and keeping the ball down, so we can make the plays. It’s great to see the progress she’s made.”

Just added, “We’re young and we’ll continue to get better. The girls are excited about league and we welcome the opportunity to defend our [league] title.”