Softball makes playoffs for 29th time

Clackamas Community College’s softball team qualified for the Northwest Athletic Conference playoffs in Spokane this weekend after a 23-19 season.

Going into the first round as the No. 12 seed, the Cougars will play the five seed Bellevue Community College (32-13 overall) on Friday, but the Cougars aren’t worried about the Bulldogs regular season record.

“I think we have a great chance at the tournament,” said Head Coach Jessica Buel. “It’s a whole new ball game, it’s a brand new season,  so if we show up and play like we can I think we have a great chance to make a run at the tournament.”

Clackamas has advanced to the NWAC playoffs for 18 straight years and has appeared in the playoffs 29 of the 32 years.

Clackamas hung around a winning percentage of .500 all season and had been in the 16 spot in the Rating Percentage Index, but a strong finish to the regular season pushed Clackamas up the ranking ladder.

“We started out kind of rough, but we really bonded as a team,” freshman infielder Peyton Elliott said. “We had a practice off where we hung out as a team and talked about what we want to accomplish and since then it’s really gone up hill for us.”

Winning three out of four games against Chemeketa Community College (7-33) and splitting double headers versus No. 11 Centralia Community College (23-18) and No. 7 Southwest Community College (31-17), the Cougars climbed into the 12 spot.

Clackamas lost game one of their final double header versus SWOCC 9-0, but bounced back to take game two 8-4.

“We’ve really picked it up as a team,” freshman pitcher Baylee Eaton said. “I feel like we’re going to do well in the [playoffs] because we’re just a whole different team from the beginning.

The Cougars had a standout batter in freshman catcher Natalie Munson who finished with 18 home runs and tied for the HR lead in the NWAC North Idaho College’s freshman infielder Ashlyn Winn and sophomore infielder Kalyna Korok, Treasure Valley Community College’s sophomore catcher Jordan Henley and Centralia Community College’s freshman first basemen Dakota Brooks.

Clackamas’ game versus Bellevue is set to start at 12:30 p.m. on Friday.