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Cougars drop two against Mt. Hood

Clackamas sees its early lead disappear in nightcap against Saints


by: ESTACADA NEWS: PARKER LEE - Clackamas CC catcher Joe Strand waits for the throw, while Mt. Hoods John Welborn slides across home plate. The message Mt. Hood head coach Bryan Donohue gave to his team in Game 2 of Friday’s doubleheader against Clackamas was short and to the point – extend the inning. That phrase resonated with the Saints and they used it to storm back from four runs down on their way to an 8-7 extra-inning victory.

“That was fun to watch,” Donohue said. “The guys took a never-say-die attitude and put pressure on them. When we put pressure on teams consistently, good things happen for us.”

The Cougars got to Mt. Hood ace Clint Burris early and pushed two runs across in the top of the first inning. With two outs in the bottom of the first, Mt. Hood first baseman Tommy Lane made it a new ball game with a two-run homer that was a no-doubter.

“I was just trying to get other guys up. I wasn’t trying to do too much,” Lane said. “I just wanted to do my job to get to the next guy, but I got a good pitch to hit and was able to do something with it.”

The Saints again had to call upon the extend-the-inning mentality in the fourth inning. Clackamas left fielder Tristan Guillen bombed a towering fly ball over the left field wall for a grand slam in the top of the frame to give the Cougars a 7-3 advantage. Clackamas pitcher Mark Rees quickly retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the inning. The Saints then put their motto to work as six straight hitters reached base with two outs.

Mt. Hood second baseman Kody Matthews started the rally with a single up the middle. He moved up to second base on a single from John Welborn and then scooted over to third when Clackamas third baseman Skyler Burkdull booted a grounder off the bat of Logan Grindy. Shortstop Cole Hamilton ripped a crisp liner to center field to bring home Matthews and Welborn.

After Hamilton’s two-run single, Lane got plunked to load the bases back up. Nick Gawley kept the inning alive by bouncing another grounder to Burkdull at third. The Cougar third baseman committed another error, allowing Grindy and Hamilton to score, and it was a new ball game once more.

Once they tied it, the Saints felt the game was theirs.

Mt. Hood’s confidence was well-founded as relief pitcher Michael McCall turned in a sensational effort on the mound. He came in immediately following Guillen’s grand slam and threw five and two-thirds scoreless innings. The Cougars never came close to scoring on McCall.

“I was just focusing on making my pitches,” McCall said. “I knew that even if I made a mistake, my team would make the plays behind me. I knew the guys would get it done at the plate to get us the win.”

Unlike Clackamas, Mt. Hood had its chances to score after it evened the game in the fourth. The Saints loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh inning. The game was scheduled for seven innings, so a run would have ended it. Matthews came up and smacked a hard grounder to third, but this time Burkdull made a great snag and throw to first to push the game into extra innings.

In the bottom of the eighth, Mt. Hood had runners on first and second with two outs when Gawley stepped in. He roped a line drive down the third base line which brought the Saints’ fans to their feet, but the ball tailed just foul. Gawley then flew out to left.

Mt. Hood loaded the bases in the ninth, and this time it took advantage. With two outs and a full count, Connor Newell took a pitch inside off the plate for ball four. Jake Dahlberg trotted home and the Saints mobbed Newell to congratulate him on his walk-off walk.

McCall earned the win with his masterful performance. He surrendered one hit and one walk in his five-plus innings while striking out eight batters.

The Saints took Game 1 earlier in the evening 6-2. With the 8-7 victory in Game 2, Mt. Hood earned its first doubleheader sweep of the season.

Dahlberg went the distance on the mound and earned the complete-game win in Game 1. He threw 120 pitches to finish it out and allowed just one earned run along the way.

Lane carried Mt. Hood at the plate in the doubleheader. He went 5-for-7 in the two contests with two home runs, a double and five RBIs.

View a photo gallery from the game at parkerlee.exposuremanager.com.



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