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After one week in Arizona and one week in Oregon, the Canby Cougar baseball team transitioned to Three Rivers League play this past week with a three-game series against a high-powered Lakeridge squad. The boys picked up a huge win in the league opener but faltered in the next two games to drop the series.
Facing the No. 13-ranked Pacers (7-3, 2-1 TRL), the Cougars’ (4-6, 1-2 TRL) first game was a dramatic pitchers’ duel, with Canby’s side powered by the arms of Joe Brauckmiller, Alex Evans and Bryce Oliver — which combined to allow just five hits.
That’s pretty good. Problem was, the Cougs were facing Pacers flamethrower Paul Wilson — the No. 1 ranked pitcher in the entire state of Oregon — who gave up only a single hit on the day.
So how did that lopsided score sheet translate to a win for Canby? By taking advantage of the rare scoring opportunity Wilson allowed in the sixth inning. The star junior struck out 14 batters in seven innings, walked only three and gave up that one hit. Fortunately for Canby, it came at the perfect time.
With Brauckmiller on third base thanks to a walk and sacrifice bunt, Kellan Oakes — Canby’s offensive leader so far in the blossoming season — tallied the only hit of the day with an RBI single. Suddenly, Canby led 1-0.
Oakes scored a few minutes later on a wild pitch, further expanding the lead. Despite registering only five baserunners in the entire game, Canby came away with the win by a final score of 2-0. The resilient Cougs never doubted themselves.
“Getting that first game against Lakeridge was a big deal,” Stolsig told the Current. “Anytime you can start a series off by playing well and finding a way to win is a good thing. It was a good high school baseball game where our guys showed great resilience and competed until the end.”
The next two games were not as kind to Stolsig and the Cougars. On the road for game two, the Pacers brought out another prospect in Erik Hoffberg. This time, the Canby bats connected better, totaling six hits.
The game remained close through the first five innings, with the Cougars trailing 2-3 before the bottom of the fifth inning, thanks to a Brauckmiller RBI single. However, a brutal bottom of the fifth ended the game prematurely; the Pacers scored a whopping nine runs in the inning while the Cougars managed just one out.
A game that had been close for four and a half of seven innings was suddenly over, 12-2.
Friday was more of the same. While there was no blow-up inning for Canby, the Cougars remained as cold as the chilly April weather, managing only two hits in a 4-0 loss. Over the three games against the Pacers, Canby had 10 hits opposed to the Pacers’ 27.
“Lakeridge is a good team that has some really good arms,” Stolsig said. “They were better than we were last week overall. This week showed the importance of throwing competitive strikes on the mound and has shown us we still have work to do offensively.”
The competition will not get easier as Canby dives deeper into its league schedule. The Cougars will play in their second TRL series this week, this time against West Linn (8-2, 3-0 TRL). Canby will have two away games and one home game this time around. Their home game against the Lions is scheduled for Wednesday at 5 p.m.
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