Clackamas got the final out just in time to turn back Metro champ Westview 2-1 in the 6A baseball quarterfinals Friday night.
The No. 2-ranked Cavaliers took a 2-1 lead into the seventh inning and were on the verge of a quick finish when pitcher K.C. Reilly struck out the lead-off hitter, and shortstop Bubba Jaha gloved a ball off the turf for out number two.
Reilly was one strike away from ending it, but that's where things got tricky.
Westview's Jason Tai fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches to stay alive and eventually drew a walk. Smyth England followed with a single through the left side, sneaking it just in front of the glove of a diving Jaha.
In a flash, the tying run was at third base.
"Our first base coach reminded me to be moving on the swing, and when I saw the ball squirt into left field I made my break for third," Tai said.
Next to the batter's box was Willie Weiss — the Metro Player of the Year.
Clackamas called a conference on the mound, and left Reilly on the bump to finish what he had started.
"I knew it was their best hitter, and I had to bring my best stuff," he said.
Reilly delivered with a curveball in the top inside corner of the zone that prompted Weiss to swing through with a ground ball to the right side. Cavaliers' second baseman Ryan McDonald was in position to make the play and fired an accurate throw to Greg Mehlhaff at first base to secure the victory.
"It was a hopper, so I had to come up and charge the ball to make the play," McDonald said. "I was nervous for sure, but I was confident we would end the game."
The top four seeds have all survived into the semifinals with Clackamas hosting Sheldon on Tuesday, while Beaverton travels to top-ranked West Linn.
The Cavaliers survived a bases-loaded threat in the second inning when Reilly struck out back-to-back batters. He fell behind 2-0 to the first hitter before dealing three consecutive strikes to send him back to the dugout.
"There wasn't a second in the game where I didn't know that my defense had my back, so all I had to do was throw strikes," Reilly said
Clackamas broke onto the scoreboard in its half of the second after Tucker Grote drew a walk and scampered home when Caden Hennessy sent a two-out double flying over the left fielder's head.
"I came into third and saw coach (John Arnston) waving me in, I knew then that the ball must have dropped," Grote said. "We knew they were a tough team with a good pitcher, so we really wanted to start off big."
Westview came inches away from gaining the lead in the fourth after a walk and a hit batsmen put the first two on base. Ben Braukmann put a sacrifice bunt in play to move the runners to second and third.
Jacob Cox was next into the batter's box and connected on a blooper that went over the top of the first baseman's glove and touched down on the turf in front of the Wildcats' first-base coach Ben Prange, who was wildly pointing toward the infield signaling a fair ball and imploring his players to run the bases.
The head umpire disagreed, ruling the ball came down inches foul.
Cox returned to the box, and Reilly struck him out on the next pitch.
Pinch-hitter Josh Moreno followed with a hopper to the left side, which the Cavs' Alex Claxton gloved and made the throw across the infield for the third out.
Clackamas added what proved to be the winning run in the fifth after Hennessy alertly reached base on a dropped third strike that found its way to the fence near the visitor's dugout.
"I got behind 0-2 and knew I had to be selective, but I also knew the umpire was calling a small zone," Hennessy said. "I fouled a few off, then came a high fastball. I swung and saw the ball rolling away out of the corner of my eye. I didn't know I was safe at first until I heard everyone clapping."
Claxton sent a roller into right field in the next at-bat, and Hennessy stole third base not long after, putting him in position to slide in well ahead of the throw when teammate Casey Peterson delivered a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Wildcats made some noise in the sixth inning when Mante Woods came up with the team's first two-out hit of the day. And it was a big one — a screeching line drive that got over the right-field wall in a hurry. Woods slapped a high five with his coach Steve Antich, then pounded his chest and pointed skyward as he crossed home plate.
"I was behind in the count, so I was expecting something off speed. The curve ball came in and I got the barrel on it," Woods said. "That gave us a lot of energy and put us back into the game."
Braukmann followed with a single to right field to put the tying run on base, but a ground out to McDonald at second ended the sixth inning.
Scoring chances were at a premium in a game that saw the teams combine to go 0-for-11 in lead-off situations. Westview reached on an error in the second and drew a lead-off walk in the fourth.
Jaha provided an early defensive highlight by turning a double play that finished the first inning, while Braukmann did the same for the Wildcats to finish the fourth.
View photos from the game at daveball.exposuremanager.com.