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Softball: Walk-off winner highlights deluge of dingers by Canby's Sarah Bizon

In case the Three Rivers League wasn’t already familiar, Sarah Bizon kindly reintroduced herself.

The standout sophomore smacked four home runs in two games, including a walk-off winner, reiterating the Canby softball team’s penchant for power at the plate.

Any remnants of her midseason slump were seemingly sent over the fence as the Cougars swung into the home stretch of their conference slate.

“Right before she got hot, I told her how good of a hitter I thought she was and that she was on the brink of being an all-league-type player,” coach Mike Higgins said. “She did a lot of extra batting. She was out in front of the ball a little bit, so she’s made a conscious effort to let the ball travel to her a little bit. I’m sure liking the results.”

And so are the No. 25 Cougars (14-8, 6-6 in the TRL), who are scheduled host Lake Oswego at 5 p.m. May 14 before wrapping up the regular season against Oregon City on the road May 16.

Thanks in part to Bizon, Canby has had phenomenal success with the long ball. She and senior shortstop Gina Bond, who have each gone yard six times, are responsible for more than half of the team’s 21 home runs in 22 games this season. Senior catcher Colleen Crutchfield has made five round trips.

Bizon’s recent barrage came as no surprise to Higgins, who saw her in action in the junior varsity ranks last year and also over the summer.

And although she is playing behind several experienced seniors on defense, Higgins has utilized her hitting skills by inserting her into the lineup as a designated player.

Bizon started the season as either the Cougars’ sixth or seventh batter but climbed up to the No. 5 spot just before the start of league play and hasn’t moved much since. She hit a two-run shot in Canby’s win over Troutdale-Reynolds in preseason play April 9 and also homered in the team’s rout of Lakeridge on the road April 25.

“She’s got really good bat mechanics, and her swing is really fluid,” Higgins said. “That’s kind of telltale if a kid is going to hit against better pitching. She has that consistency.”

Bizon made the difference for the Cougars in a 7-6 comeback victory over the Pacers at home May 7.

After giving up five runs in the top of the sixth inning, Canby added one run in the bottom of the frame to cut the Pacers’ lead to 6-4. It then held Lakeridge scoreless in the top of the seventh and finished the game with back-to-back home runs by Crutchfield and Bizon.

Bond had three hits and three RBI for the Cougars, who finished with 11 hits, while Crutchfield added two RBI and Alyssa Branscum tallied two hits.

Bizon’s second-straight two-homer performance, which came two days later, wasn’t enough to upend West Linn in an 8-7 setback on the road. The Lions led 5-1 after the first inning and 8-3 through five innings en route to sweeping the season series.

Canby made a game of it with one run in the sixth inning and three in a seventh that featured consecutive bombs by Crutchfield and Bizon, but its comeback bid fell short when West Linn escaped from a two-on, no-out jam.

“We were right there with the best team in the league, but we dug ourselves too big of a hole,” Higgins said. “We had them on the ropes.”

Bizon and Crutchfield each recorded three RBI and Bond had two hits to cap a week in which all three games were decided by one run. The Cougars, who fell 7-6 to Clackamas at home May 5, are 3-4 in one-run games this year.

“I’ve told the girls all season long, ‘The way we can hit the ball, we can come back on anybody at any time,’” Higgins said. “We just have to keep our heads up and keep rolling.”



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