Clackamas defeats Lower Columbia for its 9th NWAACC Softball title - UPDATED
PORTLAND, OR – Following a 3-2 loss to Mt. Hood in Friday’s action, #5 seeded Clackamas battled through their next six contests in loser out elimination games to reach the title match Wednesday afternoon at Portland’s Delta Park.
Through the one-loss side of the bracket CCC defeated Pierce 6-5, Treasure Valley 9-0 and Douglas 6-4 in Saturday’s action and followed up with wins over Bellevue 5-4 while avenging a Friday’s loss to Mt. Hood with a 20-6 pounding of the Saints on Sunday.
Lower Columbia, a #11 seed entering the tournament, swept their way through to the final with wins over Highline 8-1, #3 seed SW Oregon 7-3, Douglas 3-1 and Mt. Hood 21-16 in a game that set a record for most runs in an NWAACC softball championship tournament game.
Since LCC had yet to lose a game Clackamas would have to win two to take the title entering Wednesday’s opener.
CCC had LCC in trouble early on in the first game with a pair of runs in the first and third innings, but the Devils' bats began teeing off on Clackamas ace and NFCA All-American McKenzie Marshall with back-to-back homers in the top of the fourth by LCC batters Mackenzie Southard and Courtney Dawson.
Marshall gave up two more solos in the fifth and sixth innings (Tailer Snow & Dawson) to knot up the game at five runs apiece before CCC head coach Jessica Buel brought in pitcher Noelle Wright who held the LCC bats in check the rest of the way.
CCC manufactured the game winner in the bottom of the seventh when Katie Aden singled to score Megan Malvick from second base to set up the title game.
With LCC now holding a loss in the tourney, Clackamas could take the title with a win in the 'rubber match'.Clackamas got on the board first with three runs in the bottom of the second when Kara Hilton launched a three run homer off Taylor Snow to grab a 3-0 lead.
LCC looked to be in trouble in the fourth when Snow gave up another HR, this time a two run shot by Aden to make it 5-0 CCC, but the Devils rebounded with four manufactured runs in the fourth inning to pull to within a run, 5-4.
CCC added another run in the bottom of the sixth to make it 6-4 before LCC retaliated with a two run shot by Madeline Zbaeren to make it all even at 6 runs each.
Cougar Ashley Bacon hit an RBI single to score Gracie Dempster from third in the bottom of the sixth to give CCC a 7-6 lead while CCC's Marshall, this time pitching in relief, held the LCC arsenal in check in the top of the seventh to give Clackamas the victory.
The title marks the 9th championship for Clackamas Softball and the first for head coach Jessica Buel. CCC last won the title game in 2005 under former head coach Paul Fiskum who led his teams to eight championship titles.
CCC’s Kara Hilton was named the tournament MVP while Buel, in her sixth year as head coach, was named the NWAACC Softball Coach of the Year.
LCC skipper Traci Fuller had a remarkable season in her first as head coach of the Red Devils. LCC has won a NWAACC record 10 softball titles under former head coach Tim Mackin.
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