Cougars Rounding Into Top Form as League Schedule Looms

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After an opening schedule full of top-10 showdowns for the Canby Cougar softball team, the No.7-ranked Cougs made short work of a week of lighter competition.

In their first game against Central Catholic, the Cougars (7-2) breezed through a team that was expected to be a much tougher test. After all, the Rams (5-5) are one of only two teams to beat McMinnville, a high-scoring squad that took down the Cougars barely a week ago.

In this game, though, the transitive property was not borne out, as Canby sprung to an early lead that would never be seriously threatened.

Ava Carroll, fresh off one of the hottest weeks that head coach Ty Kraft had ever seen, tripled on the fourth pitch she saw before scoring on a passed ball. After an RBI double from pitcher Abigail Loomis, the Cougars led 3-0 at the end of the first inning.

Loomis gave up just two hits in her seven innings pitched on the day, with her only run allowed coming on a passed ball with the game well out of reach. Meanwhile, Natalie Just smacked an RBI of her own with a single in the second inning. Canby took advantage of three Ram errors throughout the day, as well as a dropped third strike, to cruise to an 8-1 victory.

The Cougars followed up their dominant victory with an even bigger win against Glencoe, which is winless in 10 games so far this season. Canby made quick work of the Crimson Tide, winning the game 10-0 after just five innings.

Following her 11-strikeout performance against Central Catholic three days prior, Loomis dealt seven K’s in those five innings, once again allowing only two hits.

While Carroll continued her otherworldly performance at the plate with one hit and an RBI, it was the combo of Loomis and catcher Ella Kiehl who headlined the Canby offense. Kiehl scored three runs on the day, while driving in two more. Not to be outdone, Loomis tallied four RBIs on three hits of her own.

Kraft applauded Loomis’ effort on the week, and it was no wonder why. Loomis totaled 18 strikeouts and five hits for the Cougars. Carroll and Kenna Kraft were close behind with four on the week. Through nine games, Kraft has been pleased with the way his team has shown out.

“We are playing very clean defense with no errors,” the Cougar coach said. “So long as our pitching stays consistent, we have the defense to back it up. Our offense has been very consistent in scoring runs and putting pressure on opposing defenses.”

After a week where the Cougars outscored their opponents 18-1, it’s easy to see why any coach would be impressed.

Canby won’t wait long to get back into their rugged schedule; the Cougars begin their week by traveling to play the No. 1-ranked team in the state, facing Newberg (11-1) on Monday.

After their battle with the Tigers, the Cougars will finish their week with two home games: a Wednesday match against Westview (7-4) before starting off their league schedule against No. 6 Tualatin (8-1) on Friday.

Both of Canby’s home games are slated to begin at 4:30 p.m., while first pitch against Newberg is scheduled for 5 p.m.

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