Clackamas improves to 12-1 on the season with three wins over Oregon City

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Clackamas relief pitcher Taylor Stinson (25) celebrates with his teammates after Fridays 4-2 win at Oregon City. The Cavaliers swept the defending state champs in three games and improved to 12-1 on the 2013 season with the wins.The Clackamas Cavaliers last week continued to prove themselves among the top baseball teams in the state, as they swept defending Class 6A state champion Oregon City in their opening series of the Three Rivers League season, winning three hotly contested games, 3-2, 5-3 and 4-2.

The Cavaliers finished last week ranked No. 1 in the state in the Class 6A coaches poll, and No. 3 — behind North Medford (12-2) and Roseburg (9-3) — in the OSAA power rankings.

With last Friday’s 4-2 win over the Pioneers at Oregon City, the Cavaliers improved their record to 12-1 on the 2013 season.

“I’m pretty impressed with the kids so far,” said Clackamas coach John Arntson. “They’re playing good in all phases of the game. We’re getting good pitching and they’re supporting the pitchers with great defense; they’re hitting all through the lineup, one through nine; and they’re doing a great job running the bases.

“They’re playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played. They’re fun to watch!”

The Cavaliers outhit the Pioneers 10-4 on Friday. They stole five bases, played near flawless defense and they got a solid performance on the mound from relief pitcher Taylor Stinson. Stinson (5 strikeouts) pitched 5-1/3 innings, allowing just one hit, one walk and no earned runs.

“We ran the bases well, came up with some timely hits, and Stinson came in in relief and did an outstanding job on the mound,” Arntson said. “He had command of all of his pitches. He threw strikes and he did a good job hitting location.”

Trailing 2-0, the Cavaliers tied things up with two runs in the top of the third. Jake Iverson hit a leadoff double, stole third and scored with one down on a sacrifice fly by Garrett Myers. Jared Bell singled, stole second, and scored on a base hit by Austin Kelly.

Cole Scruggs plated the winning run in the top of the fourth. Michael McDonald reached on a one-out triple, and Scruggs singled him home.

McDonald drew a bases loaded walk to force in an insurance tally in the fifth.

by: PHOTO BY RYAN LA GRANGE - Clackamas pitcher Austin KellyBell headed Clackamas’ offense, with a double, two singles, two stolen bases and two runs scored in four at bats. McDonald (2-for-2) and Kelly (2-for-3) had two hits apiece in the winning effort.

Bell was solid in a complete game on the mound in the Cavaliers’ 5-3 win over the Pioneers in an April 10 game at Clackamas. The junior right-hander recorded five strikeouts, while walking one batter and scattering seven hits. And he was supported by error-free defensive play.

With the score tied at 2-2, Clackamas went ahead for good with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Myers started things off with a single; McDonald reached on an error; and the runners advanced on a successful double steal. Kelly (3-for-3, two doubles) plated Myers for the go ahead run, and Jarrod Switzer (2-for-4, two doubles, 2 RBI) brought what would prove the game-winner around with a two-bagger.

The Cavaliers scored one run with two down in the first on a base hit by Kelly and a double by Switzer. Bell reached on an error in the second inning and ended up scoring — with two down — on a passed ball; Bell led off the fifth with a single, advanced on a wild pitch and sacrifice, and scored on a groundout by Cade Wilkins.

Oregon City scored two runs in the third on a double by Cary Swalwell, a sacrifice, and RBI-singles by Clay Reece and Jacob Tipton.

Jake Phillips went 2-for-3 at the plate in the losing effort.

Defense was pivotal for Clackamas in the Cavaliers’ 3-2 win over the Pioneers on April 8. The Pioneers reached Clackamas pitcher Austin Kelly (3 strikeouts) for eight hits and six walks, but they left 12 baserunners stranded.

The Cavaliers turned two double plays. In the third inning, Kelly fielded a ground ball, threw to Aaron Ahlstrom at second; and Ahlstrom fired to Switzer at first for an inning-ending double play.

Oregon City threatened in the top of the seventh, putting runners on first and second with one down on base hits by Reece and Rilyn Lewchuk. But shortstop Jake Iverson, Ahlstrom and Switzer then teamed up for a game-ending double play.

“Austin didn’t have his best stuff, but he did a good job competing,” Arntson said. “And I thought we played really good defense behind him.”

All of the scoring was done in the early innings.

Clackamas went up 2-0 with two runs in the bottom of the first. Myers (2-for-2, 3 stolen bases) singled and stole second. Everyone was safe when Kelly reached on a late throw on a fielder’s choice. Wilkins plated Myers with a sacrifice fly. Switzer singled, and Kelly scored on a double steal.

The Pioneers tied things up on a run-scoring single by Swalwell in the second and a RBI-single by Luke Ehli in the top of the third.

Bell brought the winning run across in the bottom of the third. Scruggs drew a two-out walk, stole second, and scored on Bell’s double to left.

Lewchuk (4 strikeouts, 3 walks, 6 hits) pitched a complete game for Oregon City.

Prior to the April 8 game at Clackamas, Oregon City coach Greg Lord presented one of the Pioneers’ 2012 Class 6A championship rings to Clackamas coach John Arntson as a way of paying tribute to Arntson’s 7-year-old son Jacob, who died in a New Year’s Eve car accident on I-84 near Mosier.

Clackamas players have dedicated the 2013 season to Jacob, who had been a fixture around Clackamas High baseball games and practices.

Clackamas has another big week on tap this week, as the Cavaliers (12-1, 3-0) go head-to-head with Lake Oswego (9-4, 3-0). They entertain the Lakers this afternoon, and they play at Lake Oswego on Friday.

Oregon City (6-7, 0-3) hosts cross-river rival West Linn (5-9, 2-1) this afternoon, and the Pioneers play at West Linn on Friday.

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