CAMAS — Tom Christensen called Monday “the best day we’ve had in the past two weeks.”
The Woodland softball coach was talking about the weather, but it could also apply because Monday was game day.
“It was nice to get outside and play, especially when we aren’t dodging hailstorms,” Christensen said.
Kelly Sweyer went 2 for 4 with a double and two loud outs, Payten Foster was 2 for 3 and Olivia Grey struck out 15 in a three-hit shutout as the defending 2A state champion Beavers beat Camas 7-0 to open the 2019 regular season.
“We definitely picked up right where we left off with our energy,” Grey said. “It was really great to come out with a win, and not even necessarily have a 7-0 game, but to just be back on the field with my family and have a good time.”
Monday was the first full day of spring sports in Clark County, and Camas High School was evident of that, hosting baseball games and a girls tennis match in addition to the Woodland-Camas softball clash.
Christensen said the Beavers have been able to practice outdoors about half of the available days since practices began two weeks ago, as the Beavers have dodged rain, snow and hail showers, as well as the cold.
“We were outside one day for about 40 minutes when we decided to head to the gym because no one could feel their hands,” the coach said. “The baseball team stayed out, and they were giving us a hard time. But the next day, they said ‘we totally should have gone in when you did.’ ”
The Beavers are learning that to defend their state title, it’s important not to try to do too much.
“We had a jamboree on Saturday,” Christensen said. “All the kids just wanted to hit so badly that we ended not hitting much at all. But today, I like how we had good at-bats and made solid contact.”
Kaily Christensen and Sweyer had singles in the first inning to stake Grey with an early 2-0 lead. That would prove to be more than enough for the Portland State-bound senior.
Kaily Christensen and Payten Foster had key hits in a three-run sixth inning for Woodland.
Katie Hancock went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk for Camas. Opening the season against a pitcher such as Grey was tough, she said, but also valuable.
“The lesson we can all take is what to do against a fast pitcher,” Hancock said. “We know the extremes. From there, it will only get easier.”
Likewise, Woodland appreciated a season-opening test against a program that has finished fourth in the 4A state tournament three of the past four years.
“This was a good test for us,” Tom Christensen said. “Camas is a good team and they challenged us today, which we needed. … There’s only so much time you can spend hitting against the machine in the cage.”
If Monday was any indicator, it figures to be a big year for the Beavers. But for now, their focus is on what’s next: Their home opener on Tuesday against another 4A Greater St. Helens League team, Skyview.
“It’s not about the perfect season or anything like that,” Grey said. “It’s just about making sure we’re going to leave a mark on Woodland High School softball, and just work as a team. Obviously, state is going to be a big factor in everything. It’s our goal, but it’s not our main goal at the end of the day. Our main goal is to play as a family and have fun.”
WOODLAND 7, CAMAS 0