by: JIM BESEDA/MOLALLA PIONEER - Molalla sophomore Amanda Clarizio eyes a pitch during last week's Tri-Valley Conference game at La Salle Prep in Milwaukie. Molalla lost 11-1 in six innings.When the Molalla softball team lost 11-1 at La Salle Prep in Milwaukie last week, the Indians struck out eight times.

Compared to Molalla’s 7-1 Tri-Valley Conference loss at home to La Salle on April 15 when the Indians struck out 16 times, that’s an improvement.

For an inexperienced team with only one senior, four juniors, five sophomores, and five freshmen, progress isn’t always reflected in the win-loss record.

“I start with little things,” Molalla coach Carol Grauer said. “With the youth I have, they’re learning every game. And every game I ask them, “Did you learn something tonight?’ And I tell them this: ‘You’re not losers, you’re learners. And the minute you become a loser, get off my team.’

“As long as I can say I improved something, I did something a little bit better, I understand now … I can’t ask for anything more.”

Last week was another rough one for the Indians (2-13, 1-6 Tri-Valley), who dropped consecutive games to Estacada, La Salle and Madras, getting outscored 37-11 in the process.

On the bright side, Kenzi Kluken went 2 for 4 with three RBIs against Estacada, the defense committed only one error against La Salle, and Amanda Clarizio and Kluken went a combined 5 for 7 with three RBIs against Madras.

Those are things Grauer hoped to build on heading into Monday’s game at Gladstone, Wednesday’s game at North Marion and Friday’s game at Estacada.

“You’ve got to have a strong base — fielding, throwing, pitching, hitting — and you go from there,” Grauer said. “Sometimes I have to tell myself to slow down and take a deep breath, but my goal is to give these players as much knowledge as I can about the basics of the game, build that foundation, and in two or three years, watch out.”

-- Jim Beseda / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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