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The Canby Cougars softball team started out their 2022 campaign with lofty expectations. Led by head coach Ty Kraft, the wily Cougars began the season ranked 10th in the state.
Now, after a dominant opening week where Canby won twice — and gave up only a single run in the process — they look poised to climb even higher.
Canby (2-0) started out the week with two two-inning scrimmages on Monday against West Salem and Wells. Serving mostly as a tune-up for the Cougars, the games also foreshadowed things to come, as Canby dominated in both scrimmages, beating West Salem 12-1 and dismantling Wells 13-0.
In the girls’ first real game against South Salem (1-1), the runs did not come quite as easily. When Mackenzie Scott homered for the Saxons to start the third inning, the Cougs actually trailed, 1-0.
Kraft’s Cougars would have to wait two more innings until they got on the board, but when they did, they went all in, scoring five runs in the top of the fifth. Brooke Herrin’s two-run single was the exclamation point of a brilliant offensive inning from the Cougars.
That would be the only frame in which they scored, but it would be all they needed, thanks to the capable work of right-handed hurler Abigail Loomis. In her complete-game effort on Wednesday, Loomis struck out 10 batters and walked only one.
“I was so proud of the way our girls fought and scrapped out the win,” said Kraft. “We know they are a talented group but it showed that they have grit and stayed with it against a very good team.”
Following their win over the Saxons, Canby blasted away the 5A Ridgeview Ravens (0-2), winning 10-0 in six innings. Loomis shone once again, throwing a complete-game no-hitter and once again striking out 10 batters.
Ava Carroll lead the way for the Cougars with 10 hits, and Natalie Just was close behind with two of her own. It was a Just single that drove in Carroll for the first run of the day. That third inning run was one of six for the Cougars as they launched ahead once again.
Carrol’s final hit of the day, an RBI triple in the sixth, was the tenth and final run for the Cougars in the win.
Thanks to those two wins, Canby shot up three spots in the OSAA polls to No. 7 in the rankings. After a good week for Loomis, Carroll, Just, and the rest of Ty Kraft’s crew, they’ll have a standalone game on Monday at Bend. The game is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.
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