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To say the Canby Cougar softball team is playing well would be an understatement. The scorching-hot Cougars extended their win streak to double digits with three more victories this week — and have not lost in over a month, since dropping a 10-13 decision to No. 6 McMinnville on March 21.
This week, the Cougs (13-2, 3-0 Three Rivers) picked up two closer league wins against Lakeridge (7-6, 0-3 TRL) and Lake Oswgo (10-7, 2-2 TRL), as well as taking down Southridge (7-8, 1-2 Metro League).
The Cougars began their week by shooting out of the gates quickly with their opening game against the Pacers. The Cougs quickly loaded the bases and recorded two runs — thanks to an Ella Kiehl RBI — before Lakeridge could muster an out. Just like that, Canby led 2-0.
Canby would continue to rack up the hits, but the Pacers still hung around. While the Cougars scored one additional run on an Ava Carroll bomb, the Pacers’ two runs made the ballgame a one-score affair in the bottom of the seventh.
Despite the stakes being a bit higher than usual, pitcher Abigail Loomis made sure her team was never in serious danger of losing. After a single Cougar senior struck out three straight batters to win the game for Canby.
“When we get to the seventh inning and it’s a close game, it feels like you can feel the tension,” Loomis told the Current. “I think everyone on the team handles that pressure really well. After games like that, pulling through with a win feel feels great, especially with all the work we have been putting in.”
Loomis would not need any heroics in her next outing against Southridge, though the 12 strikeouts she dealt the Skyhawks probably did little to hurt her confidence on offense.
Southridge managed only one run as Canby added yet another to the W column. Brooke Herren played one of her best games of the season, scoring two runs off of her two hits on the day. Despite not recording a hit, junior Bree Marino had two RBIs on the day. Kaylee Allen also totaled two RBIs as well.
The Cougars quickly transitioned back into league play two days later to face another team on a hot streak. Following a 2-4 start, Lake Oswego had won eight of nine.
After Kiehl gave Canby a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the first, the Lakers quickly struck back with a run scored on an error by Chloe Carnegie. The game remained tied for an inning before the Cougars came alive in the third, scoring two runs — once again thanks to Kiehl — to take a 3-1 lead.
Though the Lakers managed to close the gap to 3-2, Loomis once again shut down hope quickly in the final inning; the senior, who tossed 12 strikeouts on the day, threw two in the seventh to give the Cougars a 3-2 win and extend their win streak to double digits at 10.
While the Cougars boast an impressive winning streak, it doesn’t mean that they have the No. 1 spot in the state. Canby currently sits at No. 3 behind both Bend — a team Canby lost to early on in the season — and TRL foe Tigard, a team that holds an eight-game winning streak themselves.
The unstoppable force will meet an immovable object this coming Wednesday when the No. Tigers and No. 3 Cougars meet in Tigard. Canby is no stranger to taking down top-ranked teams on the road — the Cougars beat then-No. 1 Newberg just one week ago. The game is huge. But Canby knows they can’t look ahead.
“We are taking it one game at a time still,” Loomis said. “We are focusing on Oregon city on Monday first, but we know that it’s not going to get any easier as we get further into the season.”
Following their game against Oregon City, the Cougars will travel to Tigard on Wednesday for the heavyweight showdown. The game is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
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