By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– There were some nerves for Cascade’s Zac Rife coming out for the seventh inning in his complete game victory over Stayton Monday afternoon. He was staring down an Eagle team that had been slowly chipping away at him and his defense since the third inning in the Cougars 5-2 home win. But like they had all game, Cascade held strong and closed it out on this day.
“I was moderately nervous. I was confident, I just went in there and not to try to think about the nervousness so that I won’t flop,” laughed Rife. “But it worked out and I was so happy when I saw that last out and it felt great getting a win against our rivals.”
Rife points towards the first two innings of the game, when they jumped out to a 5-0 lead on Stayton, when they took advantage of walks, errors and a timely Teagan Allen 3RBI double to help set-up, execute and deliver those runs home. A Cody Leming single in the third inning broke up Rife’s no-hit bid and began a spark that got the Eagles settled back down and ready to go.
Hunter Clark helped settle them down defensively on the bump and bought their offense some time to build some momentum. Having opportunities during the remainder of the game, managing to get two across the board in the sixth thanks to an error they forced that got the Eagles back within striking distance going into the seventh.
“It was really big. After that first couple innings, we started to hit the ball way more. We started to watch those pitches, unfortunately they went to a lot of people. We had the bases loaded at times, we tried to capitalize, but they went right to guys,” Leming said. “I think it’s important for us to keep our heads up and keep swinging the bats like we have and hopefully we get a break here soon.”
With Senior Night coming on Wednesday, Leming is hoping that he and the other eight Stayton seniors will help lead this team back into the win column after the past four games going against them. As for Cascade, after a slow start to the year that saw them start 2-12, the Cougars of Turner have won five of their last seven games with two games left in the regular season.
“It’s been really helpful for all of our mentalities and our game plan in general,” starts Rife, who struck out five in the win. “All of us have gotten more hype now when we go to a game and we’re more excited to play because we’re winning now…at the beginning of the season we had that one inning where it was a bad inning and now we’re eliminating those innings. We’re just getting up and staying ahead and not letting them get back at us.”
Stayton’s Wyatt Hooper had a game-high two hits. Allen led all-batters with 3RBI’s.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald