But they bow out with a tough 2-1 loss to Hillsboro in the quarterfinals

by: MATT SHERMAN - Clackamas centerfielder Elliott Cary celebrates after hitting a two-run, two-out triple in the Cavaliers 5-1 state-playoff win over West Linn. The game was a 1-1 tie at the time of Carys blast to left-centerfield. Cary last week was honored as the 2014 Gatorade Oregon Baseball Player of the Year. The award is made to a high school senior each year as it recognizes him as the top high school baseball player in the state for all classifications, Class 1A through 6A. Cary, who has accepted a scholarship to play baseball at Oregon State University, transferred to Clackamas from Florida for his senior year. And hes had a phenomenal senior season. Playing centerfield and pitching for the Cavaliers, he had a 512 batting average and .598 on-base percentage, with eight triples, 22 RBI, 31 runs scored and 25 stolen bases on the 2014 regular season. Im really honored, said Cary. Gatorade Player of the Year wasnt such a big deal in Florida. But I know it is here, because there are a lot of really great players in Oregon. Im truly honored. His junior year of high school, Cary hit .438 and he was named Northwest Florida Daily News Big School Hitter of the Year. His father, Chuck Cary, pitched eight years in the major leagues. Cary plans a business and marketing major at OSU. Clackamas senior Austin Kelly received the Gatorade Oregon Player of the Year honor in baseball in 2013.Clackamas used timely hitting, solid defensive play and the pitching arm of senior right-hander Taylor Stinson to drop Three Rivers League rival West Linn in a second-round state playoff game played at Clackamas on May 28.

The win was especially gratifying for the Cavaliers, because it not only advanced them to the Class 6A state quarterfinal, but it avenged two losses to West Linn in the three-game league series between the two teams.

“It was definitely a big win,” said Clackamas senior co-captain Jared Bell. “We had some unfinished business since we lost our league series to them. To come out and beat them in a playoff game, and on our field, it’s a great feeling. It shows what we are capable of when we come out focused and ready to play.”

Trailing 1-0, the Cavaliers took charge in the bottom of the fourth, when they strung five hits together and scored four runs. Until that point they had gone without a hit, as West Linn junior left-hander Jordan Dailey had them grounding out in the infield.

“We talked with the kids before the bottom of the fourth and we told them we felt like they were over-swinging,” said Clackamas coach John Arntson. “Going for the fence on every pitch. We told them to shorten their swing a little, and drive it hard. They did a good job of adjusting.”

Garrett Myers got the Cavaliers started in the fifth with a lead-off double to the fence in left-center field. With one down, designated hitter Danny Houf hit a shot that glanced off the top of West Linn’s second-baseman’s glove, scoring Myers and tying the game at 1-1.

The Lions made it two down when Stinson hit into a force play at second.

But Aaron Ahlstrom kept the inning going with a base hit to left-center.

The next batter, Elliott Cary, then ignited a fire, driving the ball hard to left-center for a two-run triple. Jared Bell followed with a run-scoring base hit up the middle, and the Cavaliers were in the driver’s seat, leading 4-1.

Cary said of his key blow, “Their pitcher had been dropping in curves on me, so I sat back and waited. I got the barrel of the bat on the ball and it was gone.... When I got to third base the crowd went crazy. It was a great feeling!”

Cary had struggled in two previous at bats in the game, getting caught in a rundown and getting tagged out after reaching as a hit batter in the first inning, and striking out on four pitches in the third inning.

The Cavaliers added an insurance tally in the fifth inning. Cade Wilkins singled to right field, pinch runner Michael McDonald stole second base, and McDonald scored with two down when Stinson smacked a single to left.

West Linn scored its lone run in the second inning, on a double by Will Matthiessen and a run-scoring single by Brayden Pene.

For the game, Stinson struck out six batters, walked no one, and scattered five hits.

The Cavaliers played error-free defense behind Stinson, who faced more than four batters in just one inning.

“This was a big win for us,” said Stinson. “A playoff atmosphere, against a league rival, and a good-hitting team.”

Stinson explained his strategy, “My goal was to throw strikes and let the team play defense behind me. I wasn’t concerned [with the lack of hitting in the first three innings]. I knew we were going to come back and get the win. We’ve got great leadership. We’ve got 15 seniors on the team who have been around the ball park a long time together. We play seven full innings. We know that as long as you’ve got an out left, anything can happen in baseball.”

Bell (2-for-3, double) led the Cavaliers at the plate, as seven Cavalier batters made contact for hits in an eight-hit offensive attack.

Junior left-hander Jordan Dailey pitched the first six frames for West Linn, striking out four, walking three and giving up seven hits.

Clackamas’ season came to an end last Friday, when the Cavaliers dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker to unheralded Hillsboro.

It was the third straight upset for the Spartans (14-14), who entered postseason play ranked 33rd in the state and with a 10-14 win-loss record. The Cinderella Spartans advanced to last Friday’s quarterfinal game with fifth-ranked Clackamas through a 5-1 upset of No. 4 West Salem and a 5-4 upset of 13th-ranked Westview. They were to meet eighth-ranked Sheldon in the June 3 semifinals.

Clackamas, which made the state final last year and tied Lake Oswego and West Linn for first place in the Three Rivers League this spring, finished the 2014 season with an overall record of 21-8-1 (10-5 in the TRL).

Jared Bell one hits

the Crimson Tide

Jared Bell pitched a gem on May 26, as the Cavaliers dropped Glencoe 4-1 in a first-round state playoff game at Clackamas.

Bell pitched a complete-game one-hitter, allowing only a one-out RBI-single to Glencoe senior Trevor Williams in the top of the seventh. Bell had eight strikeouts and he walked only two batters.

“Jared was very sharp,” said Clackamas coach John Arntson. “He was very focussed.... It was definitely one of his best outings of of the season.”

The Cavaliers struck early on offense, putting one run on the scoreboard in the first frame when Josh Devore’s base hit plated Cade Wilkins, who had reached on a two-out double.

And the Cavaliers made it 3-0 in the bottom of the third, when Bell helped his own cause with a run-scoring single and Cole Scruggs plated a second run with a sacrifice fly. Michael McDonald and Elliott Cary scored the runs, after both reached on Glencoe errors.

The Cavaliers added a fourth run in the fifth. Bell doubled, advanced on a base hit by Cole Scruggs, and scored on a safety squeeze by Luke Burns.

Glencoe finished up with a 12-16 record with the loss.

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