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After dropping the first two games of the week against Lake Oswego, the Canby Cougar baseball team got its revenge in the third and final game of the Three Rivers League series.
The Cougars (12-12, 8-7 TRL), fresh off of a sweep of the Tualatin Timberwolves, came into the week hot. But they were facing a team that was even hotter in Lake Oswego (12-11, 8-7 TRL) which had won seven straight after starting the season 3-10, and they kept that momentum going in game one.
The Lakers scored all of their runs in the first inning, putting two quick ones on the board thanks to a triple by Grant Maxwell. After giving up two runs and two hits in the opening inning, Cougar pitcher Joe Brauckmiller righted the ship by throwing a scoreless remainder of the game and striking out five.
After three hits in the first five innings, Canby’s bats exploded in the top of the fifth with three singles — including an RBI from Clayton Langdale that loaded the bases and gave the Cougars a run.
Despite the prime position, Langdale’s last gasp wasn’t enough; a double play quickly ended the inning and all but ensured the 2-1 loss.
Though Canby jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead the next day, the Lakers soon took control in what would become a runaway 13-3 win. Lake Oswego tallied added to their win streak with 13 runs off of 13 hits and 13 RBIs, including four runs in the fifth inning to break open the game.
Although the Cougars totaled nine hits in the game, they were unable to finish things off, leaving runners stranded. The Cougars headed home with two losses and risking suffering their first sweep of the season.
“In Tuesday’s game, we were flat,” Coach J.J. Stolsig told the Current. “We felt like we didn’t come out with the energy we needed to compete at a high level. Wednesday, we competed and did some things well; they just played better than us. You have to give Lake Oswego credit. They played well.”
Two days after their second loss, Stolsig’s squad finally put it all together before the home crowd. The Cougs blasted out of the gates with a four-run first inning and weathered the storm to snap Lake Oswego’s nine-game winning streak.
Canby’s first-inning success was in a large part thanks to Kellan Oakes. The senior drove in two runs with a double and scored another courtesy of Logan Robinson to help be a part of three of Canby’s four runs. The other was thanks to a Langdale RBI grounder.
While Canby’s lead ballooned to four when Theo Netter sent Evans home in the third, Lake Oswego was not eager to have their win streak stopped. The Lakers inched within one run, cutting the deficit to 5-4, before Oakes slammed the door shut on the mound with a strikeout.
A single by Mikey Gibson gave the Cougs a safety net, and Oakes closed out the game to win 6-4.
Despite losing 1-2 in the series overall, the Friday win left the Cougars with a good taste in their mouth. Not only had they downed one of the hotter teams in the state, but they had also done so with consistent hitting.
The offense, a problem at the beginning of the year, has all but faded away in the last two series. Stolsig sees it as a sign the team is improving.
“As of late we have been swinging the bats better,” the Cougar coach said. “Some guys are gaining confidence as we get to the end of the season. You always want to be playing your best at the end. We feel like our best baseball is still in front of us.”
Canby will close their regular season with a series against Oregon City. The lone home game for the Cougars, Senior Night on Tuesday, is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
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