Cougar Bats Catch Fire in Sweep of Timberwolves

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One week after winning their first Three Rivers League series, the Canby Cougar baseball team one-upped themselves with a huge series sweep over the Tualatin Timberwolves this past week.

The previous week, head coach J.J. Stolsig had detailed how he believed his team was one well-hit game from putting it all together. Those words appeared prescient as the Cougars (11-10, 7-5 TRL) racked up 22 hits in three games — all wins — just one week after managing to scratch out two wins on a combined four hits.

Six different Cougars picked up six hits in their first game of the series. Bryce Oliver got things going with a single in the first inning before Theo Netter took over.

Netter got on base after being hit by a pitch, then scampered home on an error to give Canby a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Then just one inning later, the senior drove in Alex Evans and Mikey Gibson with an RBI double.

He continued his hot start by reaching home on a passed ball. Canby’s lead ballooned to 4-0 and the team never looked back. The Cougars scored twice more in the game, once on a Hunter Robinson sacrifice bunt and once on a Joe Brauckmiller single. The Canby defense held the Tigers back, winning 6-2.

The second game of the series started out with more of the same. Canby once again tallied six hits, with three of them coming in the first inning. Netter reached base with a single before scoring thanks to a triple from Bryce Oliver. Oliver scored two at-bats later with a Kellan Oakes RBI single.

That quick flurry from the Cougars was the only runs of the game, but it would prove to be plenty. Neither team put themselves into scoring position as the pitchers took over. Jason Noffsinger and Logan Robinson gave up two hits apiece in the 2-0 win.

Two days later, Canby found themselves in their first deficit of the series. A home run by Tigard’s Isaac Pfeifer in the bottom of the fourth gave the Tigers their fifth hit of the game and a 3-1 lead. From there, though, the Cougars chipped away at the lead.

It was Netter once again who got things going with an RBI single that drove Gibson home. Two innings later in the top of the sixth, Netter’s grounder was mishandled by the Tigers, resulting in another Gibson score. The Cougars scored their final run of the day with Brauckmiller advancing home on a fielder’s choice.

Trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Tualatin managed a short two-out rally attempt on the pitching Oakes, getting two runners on base and in scoring position. With the winning run at the plate, Oakes dealt nothing but strikes to win the game and sweep the series.

With the win, the Cougars shot up from No. 19 to No. 13 in the state. After a slow start, Canby has won five of their last six games and seven of their last 10, and have propelled themselves into home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

“Guys are starting to play with more confidence,” said head coach J.J. Stolsig, “The offense is improving. Early on we were pitching fairly well and playing good defense but the offense was struggling. The offense is starting to turn the corner.”

The Cougars will take on another red-hot TRL team this week in Lake Oswego. After a miserable 3-10 start, the Lakers have won seven straight games to improve to No. 20 in the state. The first game of the series is home on Tuesday, with a first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m.

Photo courtesy Sarah Oliver.

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