The Clackamas youngsters finish runner-up to South Clackamas at the county championship tournament
The Clackamas Cavaliers showed up at the recent Clackamas County Junior National Championship Baseball Tournament with their game faces on and the result was a runner-up finish to one of the top teams in the state, South Clackamas.
After going 10-4-2 and finishing fourth in league, the seventh-seeded Cavaliers advanced to the county championship final through wins over the Clackamas Base Bandits (9-8) and Clackamas Nightmare (7-1). They then gave South Clackamas a run for its money before yielding, 12-8.
It was a South Clackamas team that had gone 16-0 in league and a team that boasted a 26-1 record heading into the county championship game with the Cavaliers.
It was the first time playing together as a team for most of the players on the Cavalier squad.
They improved a lot throughout the season, said Cavalier coach Joe Wacker. We started our league 4-4-1, but then we won six in a row.... Our defense was where we saw the biggest improvement. Our pitching and hitting were decent all season.
Wacker noted that his squad came from the toughest league in the county.
There were three leagues in the county and eight spots in the county tournament, and our league got four of those spots.
The Cavaliers played in a 10-team league that included South Clackamas and they lost to the county champs twice during the league season.
Members of the standout Cavalier Junior National team included: Alex Wacker (second base/catcher), Ben Tibbetts (shortstop), Judah Davis (pitcher), Grant Edgerly (pitcher/catcher), Sam Zehr (third base/catcher), Jackson Dennis (first base/pitcher), William Stogsdill (centerfield/second base), Nick Oxley (outfield, third base), Hunter Jackson (outfield/shortstop), Cal Milligan (centerfield), Marcus Yu (left field) and Ashton McCracken (centerfield/pitcher).
Tibbetts and Edgerly played big roles in the 9-8 barnburner with the Base Bandits. Tibbetts stepped to the plate in the top of the sixth with his club trailing 8-7 and hammered a run-scoring double. He then stole third base and scored what would prove the game-winner on a passed ball.
Edgerly took to the mound in the bottom of the sixth and final inning and sent the Base Bandits down in order, striking out two batters and hauling in a pop up for a third out.
Pitching was pivotal in the 7-1 win over Clackamas Nightmare. Davis pitched the first three innings, facing only 10 batters. He allowed just one hit, while striking out three and walking no one.
Edgerly was tough in three innings of relief, allowing just two hits, while striking out three and walking one.
Nursing a 2-0 lead, the Cavaliers put the Nightmare away with a five-run fifth inning. Alex Wacker cracked a bases clearing double in the stanza.
The runner-up finish earned the Cavaliers a spot in the 12-team Junior Baseball Junior National Division State Championship Tournament, which was held July 10-13 in Lebanon. The Cavaliers topped Yamhill-Carlton 10-7 in their opener, but then bowed out with back-to-back losses to Newberg (8-5) and to Glencoe.