Already off to a good start, Clackamas Community College softball picked up a pair of confidence building victories over Lower Columbia College on Saturday, April 7 at home.
Saturday’s double header showed exactly how much times have changed. Clackamas and Lower Columbia have eight and nine NWAACC championships respectively, and have met a total of seven times in the championship game. Over one stretch, Clackamas and Lower Columbia were in the finals five out of six years between 2002 and 2007. That bitter rivalry, however, has changed.
Lower Columbia has still not managed to recover from the retirement of long time head coach Tim Makin, and after the two embarrassing losses, drop to 2-2 in region play. Clackamas, who has remained steady at fifth in the NWAACC coaches’ poll, moved to 3-1 in region play and 13-7 over all.
Clackamas put on a pitching show from the very beginning, with sophomore Makenzie Marshall giving up just one hit over the entire first game, a double from Madison Gaa in the top of the third inning. Marshall struck out the next batter to end the inning, stranding Gaa on base. The pitching success continued, as Marshall struck out seven batters until the bottom of the fourth inning, when the Clackamas bats finally started to swing.
Facing a full count, Clackamas freshman Megan Malvik struck for a double, scoring just moments later when Katie Aden got a double of her own, sending Malvik home for the first run of the game. The Cougars tacked on another run when Tasha Silvius batted Aden in, and finished the inning up 2-0.
Clackamas put the final nail in the coffin in the bottom of the fifth. After a quick and easy three up-three down stint for Lower Columbia. With a runner on first and third, Marshall stepped up and batted two runners home, advancing to second base for the double. Marshall scored two batters later to make the score 5-0, and with runners on first and third base, freshman Justine Callen finished things off with a home run to make the final score 8-0.
Callen led both teams with three RBIs while Marshall continued her strong season from the mound, striking out eight batters and giving up just one hit. Clackamas followed up their opening with with yet another impressive performance in the second game, leading 13-1 going into the fifth inning before giving up several late runs to make the final score 14-4.
“It was good for us to come out and score some runs and be patient at the plate and do what we needed to do,” said head coach Jessica Buel. “It will help build confidence throughout the rest of the year.”
Buel also had high compliments for the pitching staff, who are among the league leaders in runs per inning so far this season.
“I would say that we’ve got one of the top pitching staffs in the NWAACC. All four of them are doing a great job for us and they did what they needed to do today,” said Buel. “They also have a great defense behind them.”
The win pushes Clackamas past Lower Columbia in the southern region standings to second, just behind SW Oregon, who split a pair of games with Clackamas on Friday. The Cougars will next face off against Clark College at 3 p.m. at home on April 10.