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The Canby Cougar baseball team made sure to end their season on a high note, dismantling the Oregon City Pioneers in a convincing three-game sweep to lock up their spot in the OSAA playoff bracket.
The Cougars (15-12, 11-7 TRL) may have swept their sometime crosstown rivals, but the series did not start smoothly against the Pioneers (4-21, 0-18 TRL).
With Oregon City out of playoff contention, the boys played as if they had nothing to lose and quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to an error and a passed ball.
But Canby stayed calm under pressure, biding their time and waiting to strike. After two scoreless innings, the Cougars unloaded in the top of the third — scoring five unanswered runs to wrest back control of the game.
Clayton Langdale and Kellan Oakes both drove in two runs in the inning to add to their already impressive hitting statistics.
From there, the Cougs completely locked down. Joe Brauckmiller and Alex Evans didn’t give up a single hit over the last six innings of the game, combining to strike out eight as well. The Pioneers’ two hits in the first were the only ones Canby allowed all day.
The next two games were carbon copies of each other, with Canby coasting to two straight 12-1 victories. On Tuesday’s senior day, the Cougs made sure to honor their soon-to-graduate teammates with another massive third inning.
Instead of five runs in the inning, though, the Cougars, incredibly, managed to double that output, piling up a mind-boggling 10 runs in a decisive third inning that put the game to bed early.
Oakes, Brauckmiller, Logan Robinson, and Dom Pepper were the four Cougars to get hits in an inning that saw Canby total four hits, four walks and three errors.
The most impressive part? Nine of the 10 runs came with two outs on the board. Canby, who had trailed 0-1 before the third, added two more runs to end the game early due to the mercy rule.
The next day, Canby did it again. The Cougs spread the offense out a bit more this time around, scoring a mere four runs in the third — that’s 19 runs over three days in the third inning alone for those keeping track at home — en route to another dominant 12-1 win.
Four Pioneer errors and 11 hits by the Cougars were once again too much to handle. Brauckmiller and Bryce Oliver led the way in the game, each with three hits apiece as Canby convincingly rounded out the year with a sweep.
Not only did the Cougars close the season with three straight wins, they also finished on a 9-3 tear mark to dart up the standings. The Cougars’ season-ending rank of No. 14 in the state is good enough for a home game in the first round of the OSAA playoffs — Canby’s first since 2008.
The Cougars’ first matchup will be against the No. 20 Bend Lava Bears (11-14, 8-4 Summit). The Bears ended the season on a 2-5 slide, but have shown promise at points in the year, including a four-game win streak.
Attendees must purchase tickets for the game in advance at osaa.org/tickets. On-site transactions will not be accepted. The game is scheduled to start Monday at 5 p.m. in Canby.
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