Kennedy defense ranks No. 1 in the state in total runs

by: PHIL HAWKINS - Mariah Pranger and the Kennedy softball team takes their top-ranked defense to Perrydale to open the week.Despite the lack of recent playing time, the Kennedy softball team continues to play at a high level as the Trojans near the halfway point of the spring schedule.

Kennedy bounced back from its first league loss of the season with an emphatic 18-1 victory on the road against the Delphian Dragons on April 21.

The win kept the Trojans (10-2, 5-1 Tri-Valley) within striking distance of league leading Western Mennonite (9-3, 6-0) and second place Central Linn (11-2, 6-1).

Kennedy’s previously scheduled game against Perrydale was rained out and rescheduled for Monday, adding to a recent stretch of canceled and postponed games for the Trojans. The team has played in just three games since April 10, though a slate of good weather scheduled for this week will put Kennedy back on the softball field.

The Trojans’ white-hot start to open the season gives the team its best record through 12 games since Kennedy opened the 2009 season 11-1 en route to a 22-win season and a trip to the second round of the 2A/1A playoffs.

Much like that team, this year’s Trojans are winning due to a strong defensive effort that has been the best out of every 2A/1A team in Oregon.

Kennedy has surrendered just 35 runs through 12 games for an average of 2.92 runs per game, both top marks in the state among the 37 teams in their classification.

The Trojans are no slouches on offense, either. Eight of the team’s 10 wins have come as a result of 10-plus runs scored. Kennedy is the second-highest scoring team in the league at 11.83 runs scored per game, though it’s a far cry from Riddle’s 15.6 runs per game to lead all 2A/1A teams.

The team was scheduled to host Perrydale (5-3, 5-3) Monday and Culver (3-14, 3-5) Tuesday before traveling to Colton (7-7, 3-2 3A West Valley) Friday for a non-conference match against the Vikings.

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