By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The Chemeketa Community College softball team has a weird way of approaching their doubleheaders. They did it in their home opener against Mt. Hood Wednesday, splitting with the Saints that day, while doing it again Saturday against Clackamas Community College.
The weird thing being their strong, second game finishes to these doubleheaders. After a slow start against both Mt. Hood in their 2-1 defeat and again following their 15-0 loss to the Cougars on Saturday, the Storm roared to life in the back seven-innings to make things interesting.
But it’s a work in progress for Chemeketa as the bulk of their team are freshman and are making the transition from High School softball to College Ball. Going through the bumps and bruises against more experienced teams like Clackamas
“The thing we can improve upon is to jump upon it sooner,” North Salem-grad Kaitlyn Horn starts. “A lot of our games we won have been the second game, so I feel like if we jump on it in the first game and possible take the win in the first game, then it’ll possibly have a possible strong start in the second game and keep the energy higher.”
Horn was playing out in the outfield in the second game, a totally new position for the Vikings-grad after playing the bulk of her career in the infield and behind the plate as a catcher.
But she didn’t shy away from plays, however. Horn attempted a play in left field, where she was playing, crashing into the fence in foul territory in an attempt for a foul ball in the sixth inning only to come back and make a play a inning later for the Storm. Both came in Game 2 of the doubleheader.
It was all part of a strong second game that had Chemeketa knocking on the door against a good-hitting Clackamas squad.
Central-grad Emily Cole held the Cougs scoreless until the fifth inning with her Storm ahead 1-0 entering the inning. In the inning Clackamas hit two home runs off the college freshman, but limit the damage to three runs as Chemeketa quickly tied it up at three in the bottom half of the inning.
“We adjusted quicker to the pitching than in the first game. We started our bats sooner, not as soon, but soon enough to score in the second inning and we were on the board. So we just adjusted quicker and made the little chances that really helped us,” Cole said.
The difference in the 6-4 Cougars victory came in the sixth inning where the Clackamas offense took advantage of two errors to take a 6-3 lead going into the home stretch. Cole and the Storm defense shut down the Cougs offense in the seventh as Chemeketa mounted a comeback.
Horn scored on a pass ball to pull Chemeketa back to within two and got a runner on base as South Salem’s Naomi Galanti came within feet of tying to game up at six with two outs to close out the game 6-4.
“I felt like we were able to bounce back a lot because even though they hit those two bombs, we didn’t let it get us down. We turned it around and made some catches in the outfield, our infield was working, and pitchers were striking everyone out,” Horn said. “I felt like it was a really good game overall.”
The Storm travels to Kelso to play Lower Columbia for aa doubleheader starting at 11am. A make-up doubleheader from March 19.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald