CLACKAMAS, Ore. — Clackamas (15-6, 8-2) was an offensive juggernaut in a 9-2 home win over Reynolds (12-9, 5-5) on Wednesday night.
“We didn’t (hit) the last time we played them,” Clackamas head coach Dom Giancola said. “They outhit us 14-6.”
Reynolds won the first meeting between the two teams 8-2 on April 20. The loss was the first of a four-game stretch in which Clackamas dropped three games. The Cavaliers, a preseason favorite to win the Mt. Hood Conference, were just 3-2 five games into the league season.
“We had a couple games where we relapsed and we’ve rallied around each other ever since,” said Clackamas first baseman Sammy Haehlen, who had four RBIs.
The Cavaliers made one mental adjustment that has paid off in a big way during the team’s current five-game winning streak. Relax.
“That’s been the key for us,” Giancola said. “To relax in the box and know that the girl behind you is going to drive her in.”
Clackamas looked poised at the plate on Wednesday, totaling 15 hits. The Cavaliers had multiple hits in five of the six innings they were up to bat.
“We’re developing a little bit of confidence,” Giancola said. “We’re adjusting better in the batter’s box as far as what we can and can’t do against certain pitchers.”
A two-run double by Haehlen in the first inning gave Clackamas a 2-0 lead. The Cavaliers added two more hits in the second inning, but Reynolds catcher Cortney Curtis threw out two base runners to get out of the inning without any damage on the scoreboard.
Clackamas again threatened in the third inning by loading the bases with no outs. Reynolds pitcher Cheyenne Vance was able to get out of the inning giving up just one run, a sacrifice fly by Kylee Cummins-Vanderbout.
“We kept pushing the issue,” Giancola said. “We were just trying to win innings.”
Meanwhile, Clackamas pitcher Amanda Zehr was escaping some trouble of her own. The Raiders had runners in scoring position in three of the first four innings, but couldn’t cash in against the Cavaliers’ senior right-hander.
“She put a little pressure on herself, but she end up throwing a nice ball game,” Giancola said of Zehr.
Reynolds had its own bases loaded, no out situation in the fifth inning. The Raiders scored two runs off a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly by Alison Walton to trim the deficit to 3-2.
Clackamas looked poised for a big inning in the bottom half of the fifth. Jade Haehlen added an RBI single and Cummins-Vanderbout singled to left field. However, Haehlen was thrown out at home to end the inning, and again, Vance got out of the jam with limited damage.
The Cavaliers finally broke through in the sixth. Clackamas had five hits as it batted through the order. Maddy Oakden singled home a run. Seniors McKenzie Giancola, who went 3-for-4 and scored four times, and Sammy Haehlen each drove in two runs to put the game out of reach.
“They know what it takes to win,” Giancola said of his seniors. “It’s easy for the younger kids to come along us and elevate their play.”
One thing a veteran team understands is the season is not about how you start, but how you finish.
“It’s important that we get better and that we play our best game in June,” Sammie Haehlen said.
The Cavaliers still have some work to do in the regular season. Clackamas beat Centennial on Monday to sweep the season series and pull even with the Eagles at the top of the Mt. Hood Conference. They begin a stretch of three straight road games against Central Catholic on Friday.
Reynolds, who suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this year, will host Oregon City on Friday.